Poems for Rising Ten consists of 25 poems written in English. Each poem was chosen with children of around ten in mind.

The collection has been a while in the preparing. A few years ago, I noticed that a significant proportion of the people registering on this site, intending either to view or download the poems here, were primary school teachers. And I wondered whether the Project’s collections catered enough for that younger age group. Initially, the selection had been made with patients in healthcare waiting rooms in mind. This was when the project was called ‘Poems for the Waiting Room.’ At that stage we were thinking of adults. Later, schools caught up with the project and soon most of the demand for the poems was coming from that quarter. This affected the way we chose new poems to add to the collections, of course, but mostly now we were thinking of older children, teenagers. If that left a gap for a younger age-group, this new collection aims to fill it.

That is not to say that all the poems chosen for this collection are strictly “children’s poems.” Quite a few were clearly written without any particular age group in mind, just person to person, open speech. But I am confident that those poems belong with, and can speak vividly to, this younger age group and the experience of that age, and I am grateful to the editors of a number of earlier children’s anthologies who have shown me the way, in this regard.

The collection is also influenced by two fine and ambitious anthologies published by Nosy Crow – “I am the Seed that Grew the Tree” and “Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright”. The pages of both these books are as full of visual imagery as they are of words, so that “illustration” is too weak a description for the art work involved. Kate Wilson, editor of Nosy Crow, seems to have been the inspiration behind this emphasis on the visual. Remembering her own childhood, she felt it was important to have good pictures to help “draw the young reader into the words.” That seemed a good thought to me.

Rachel Stevens is an artist who lives close to where I live and has given all her beautiful pictures free for this project and this collection. Chris Binding is the artist /designer who brought immense flair and fine judgement to the task of bringing text and image together in each case.

And where do the poems come from ? From a wide range of sources including a number of good children’s anthologies published a couple of decades ago. They belong to my partner Nicola, who bought them originally to read to her children and now keeps them to read to her grandchildren.

Finally, I want to log my thanks to Rachel Stevens not only for her art, but also for reminding me that children of this age are soon to face one of childhood’s most significant transitions – that of the move from primary school to secondary. In most cases, of course, this means changing from being “top” of a small community to being “bottom” of a large one. Transition is accordingly a theme running through this selection.

Rogan Wolf


All the poems below are in pdf.  To open them, you will need to have installed Adobe Reader, part of the Adobe Acrobat package. Installation of the Reader is free. See https://get.adobe.com/reader/


Here below is the full list of the collection’s poems, poem by poem. To view and/or download any or each, click on the pdf symbols in the right hand column :


Title Poet View/Download
Snow and Sun Anon.
from Caged Bird Maya Angelou
from Pleasant Things  Lord Byron
Bird Sips Water Keith Bosley
Drop in the Ocean Jane Clarke
Night Sounds Berlie Doherty
Baby Orangutan Helen Dunmore
The Tide in the River Eleanor Farjeon
Those Winter Sundays Robert Hayden
the door  Miroslav Holub
A Thing of Beauty John Keats
from First Day at School Roger McGough
from Lines and Squares A.A. Milne
But What is Poetry ? Adrian Mitchell
Welcoming the Birds Adrian Mitchell
Crab Dance Grace Nichols
Hurricane Hits England Grace Nichols
Shadows Judith Nichols
I Watched an Eagle Soar Virginia Driving Hawk Snieve
Escape at Bedtime Robert Louis Stevenson
The Eagle Alfred Lord Tennyson
To A Poor Old Woman William Carlos Williams
Hawk at Shoulder Rogan Wolf
The Other Side Rogan Wolf
How I See It Kit Wright

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