The Seventh Secret

In his book, The Thirteen Secrets of Poetry, the lovely poet, Adrian Mitchell, tells us that the seventh secret is:

Good ideas often fly off and so

Take that notebook wherever you go

            (and three pens).

If he was reading the secrets to an audience, he would stop and show us the three pens he kept in his top pocket. And that seventh secret applies to any kind of writing –always good to have a notebook and at least one pencil. You never know when an idea might need to be written down.

The great thing about writing is that you don’t need very much equipment; just pencil (or pen) and paper. I wonder what you have? I always have a notebook. Sometimes I make a little book to write on and sometimes I write on plain paper, or the back of an envelope, or the computer screen. Think about keeping your writing things together in one place; or you might be like Adrian Mitchell and carry them around with you.

I like writng so much that my house is full of things to do with writing. I have a pencil case and a pencil box and tins and jars with coloured pens and pencils and brushes and scissors. I sometimes like to have a clipboard to rest my paper on if I am on the move. I often have a poetry book nearby. If we are going to write, it really helps to read.

Today, I looked at an old favourite poetry anthology and found this little extract from a much longer poem by Sylvia Plath called The Bed Book.

Most Beds are Beds

For sleeping or resting,

But the bestBeds are much

More interesting!

Not just a white little

Tucked in tight little

Nighty-night little

Turn-out-the-light little 


Sylvia Plath imagines all kinds of bed: a jet-propelled bed, an elephant bed (on the top of an elephant), a Snack Bed, in case you get hungry n the night.

You could draw your own bed and then write about the adventures that you can have with your bed. Quentin Blake has illustrated The Bed Book. You could do the same: draw pictures of all the different kinds of bed that your bed can be.

It you would like to see more of the poem and Quentin Blake’s illustrations follow this link:


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