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John Svatins

Updated: Fri, 23 Feb 2024 05:44 pm

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I live in Ulverston and teach in a primary school. I write poetry and stories for pleasure and I'm currently putting together a collection of poems aimed at children and those young at heart. When the mood takes me, I also write some serious stuff too. Apart from the writing, I love walking, reading and cooking.

Three of my poems for children

Hippos It’s said that hippopotamuses Can weigh as much as minibuses Despite this quite enormous size A hippo rarely eats a pie And though he’d eat your garden whole He’ll pass up on a sausage roll Just as well ‘cause on those legs He’d never make it down to Greggs My Mate Connor Franklin can burp out tunes Takes pins to a party to burst balloons Bangs on pans with serving spoons Connor Franklin is great and he’s my mate Connor Franklin has a scar on his knee He knows karate and says he’ll teach me He can get it highest when we go for a wee Connor Franklin is great and he’s my mate Connor Franklin made a teacher cry He can score a goal from the halfway line His eyebrows don’t move when he’s telling a lie Connor Franklin is great and he’s my mate Connor Franklin wears clothes that don’t fit And makes funny noises with his armpits My sister says he’s got the nits Connor Franklin is great and he’s my mate Connor Franklin brings a Mars Bar for lunch Made a hole in the ceiling with just one punch When he eats soup he makes it crunch Connor Franklin is great and he’s my mate Connor Franklin is our class clown My mum says he lives in the rough part of town His knees are a sort of muddy brown Connor Franklin is great and he’s my mate Connor Franklin likes spiders and beetles He keeps them in boxes then throws them at people His uncle’s in prison for something illegal Connor Franklin is great and he’s my mate Connor Franklin has gone away I asked my teacher, but she wouldn’t say I miss the games we used to play Connor Franklin was great and he’s still my mate Skeletons Tell Terrible Jokes Zombies shuffled aimlessly with heads tipped to one side The phantoms rattled chains and flung transparent cloaks out wide The vampires swooped theatrically as they are wont to do And ghoulish forms materialised in pools of dipping goo “Wait everyone,” the skeleton interrupted, “I’ve got a joke Spectres paled spectacularly, their colour swiftly drained Ghosts gave agonising moans evoking thoughts of pain Frankenstein looked stoney-faced and gnashed uneven teeth And through the soil a groan was heard from things that lie beneath “No, don’t be like that, it’s really good! Apparitions looked around for somewhere to escape Vlad the Prince of Darkness huddled underneath his cape Lost souls tried to lose themselves and ended up confused While werewolves asked with urgency if they could be excused “Why …” began the skeleton with an excessively toothy grin, “ can’t I go to the party?” Things from fevered nightmares screamed that they had had enough Spooks that had the talent disappeared with just a puff Desperate sobs were heard from every supernatural being All wishing they were capable of joining those yet fleeing “Because I haven’t got an invitation!” “Hang on, that’s not it …..” The skeleton was glared at by a thousand bloodshot eyes And heads intact and severed were all shaken with a sigh “It seems,” a wraith hissed softly, “that it isn’t just a rumour, Those without a body have a lousy sense of humour”

Poems with a more serious tone

Actually, you didn’t Learn to apologise properly The s word should not be taboo The value to me is priceless But it’s little or nothing to you It takes a small measure of courage To own up to the errors we make But it would make me think you better If I heard you admit your mistake Don’t act like cheap politicians Who are sorry that you feel upset And infer that it’s just your opinion They should feel any form of regret But perhaps that you think that I’m petty And that I should just learn to move on That I’m being pathetic or stubborn With concepts like who’s right or wrong Are you waiting for me to say something? To assure you your actions were fine But why should I care for your feelings? When you clearly don’t care about mine I feel like a moment was wasted A chance to make good and reset You could have admitted you’re human But for you that’s too close to a debt It’s so sad that your pride keeps you stunted Your conceit makes you bitter and small It will leave you alone and self-righteous But for that I’m not sorry at all. Aged How old are you? I am a big boy now, I am free years old and my mummy says that now I can sleep in a big boy’s bed. How old are you? I’m 18. Yeah, I’ve changed a bit since that photo was taken. My date of birth? It’s, erm, it’s … what it says there. How old are you? I’m twenty-three and yes madam, my mum does know I’m out. Yes, I am a real policeman. How old are you? I’m thirty-two… No, I haven’t got any children… Actually we’re perfectly happy with that… Yes, really. Excuse me, but why is this your business? How old are you? Old enough to wear what I want, thank you and there’s no need to pull that face. I’ve seen lots of men my age wearing shirts like this. How old are you? I’m … wait, I can’t find my birth year, why have I got to scroll down that far? This is ridiculous! Why have they got the ‘90’s at the top? People born then are far too young to be applying for a loan, they’d only be … oh. HOW OLD ARE YOU? I’m 92, not that it’s any of your business, and when I was half your age, I charged a machine-gun emplacement. Incidentally, I am not deaf. Unexplained Behaviour I’ll be quiet and do as I’m told If you’ll only let me be The grown-ups will think that I’m good as gold I’ll make sure there’s nothing to see Whatever they say I’ll agree I’ll never be caught with a frown Daily life will wash over me While inside I slowly drown You mustn’t look, I’m nobody Or remark on my absence of sound I’ve locked myself up and discarded the key In case you might see me break down. …. . .-.. .–. When the child that I punch cries in pain Or when the teacher yells Then just for a moment, the storm in my brain Is quiet and all is well. The things that I’ve seen, I can’t tell With words they’d understand So I rip through their peace like a shell Destroying their order and plans You can threaten, exclude or expel But I can’t do the things you command For I’m driven by screaming as clear as a bell And the slap of my father’s hand.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

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