It’s Halloween again, so for your delectation and delight I’m posting Clicking Gran, my kid’s poem about the young lad who goes to stay with his Gran only to find out that she’s a witch. Feel free to print and read to the little monsters in your life for Halloween. The poem made the long list in the Plough Prize for children’s poetry in 2009.
Last Halloween I took a train
and travelled to the coast again,
to execute my mother’s plan
and spend some time with Clicking Gran.
Clicking Gran has five black teeth
with dark red gums sat underneath.
Her face is wrinkled, like a peach,
her pace is slow, just like her speech.
Gran sucks bread and slurps her tea,
she’s really not a bit like me.
She has a beard and long white hair
and owns a cat called Lucifer.
Gran’s stiff knees go, click, click, click,
as she hobbles with her stick,
her back is bent, her ankles meet,
she’s always looking at her feet.
Gran lives in a creepy dwelling,
how she got it, she’s not telling.
Bats live in the broken eaves,
her letterbox is full of leaves.
On Saturday I got quite ill,
I said to Gran, ‘I need a pill,’
but Gran said she would give to me,
‘a bit of homemade remedy.’
I drank some soup, then Granny said,
‘You’re really better off in bed.’
Granny said that she would stay,
‘until the pain had gone away.’
When I woke up in the night
Gran had gone, I felt alright.
I was hungry, wide awake,
I thought I’d get a slice of cake.
I put my slippers on before,
I crossed the creaky timbered floor.
I heard a noise, a weird sound.
I crept downstairs and looked around.
On the kitchen floor was Granny,
searching every nook and cranny.
Then she caught a hairy spider,
Lucifer was right beside her.
She dropped the spider in the pot,
and stirred the brew, it looked quite hot.
Then I saw my Granny stoop
and drop five beetles in the soup.
She cackled as she added snails
and slugs and tiny mouses tails.
Lucifer sat idly by,
chewing on a hover fly.
After that I saw her bake,
a bat and frog and spider cake.
Then she got a big old broom,
I thought she meant to sweep the room.
But granny pushed the big door wide,
she called the cat and went outside.
I saw her run and very soon,
she was flying ‘cross the moon.
I cut some cake and took a bite,
it tasted nice, to my delight,
I licked my lips and in a trice
I ate another giant slice.
I sped upstairs and packed my case
and ran out of that awful place.
But Granny caught me in the lane
and took me back inside again.
When I woke the sun was high,
I yawned and stretched and breathed a sigh.
Granny smiled and said, ‘it seems,
that you’ve been having nasty dreams.’
We went downstairs and had some tea,
then Granny said, ‘My goodness me!
What have you been doing Keith?
There’s spider’s legs stuck in your teeth.’