The Orangutan by Joan Saxby

One for the children


I know an orangutan
Who has arms longer than any man
He swings from trees with great agility
But can't read a book 'cos he's got no ability.

He swings from branch to branch with great ease
As he leaps to and fro between trees
He'll chatter to me as fast as he can
But of course I can't speak orangutan!

Joan Saxby

Jenna and the Challenge by Michael Healy

A third installment of Michael’s story for all grandchildren everywhere
Jenna and the Challenge
Jenna the elephant was off to town to take the Royal Family
His howdah was fitted with a cover to stop the rain
And the young family members climbed up and sat down.
Clearly the rain was a nuisance to all.
Jenna was unhappy as his normal carer, Majub, was not here
Instead he had sent his son Tariq to take care.
The Head of the Royals was not coming
So they set off down the road to town.
They had not gone far when this big American car forced its way past Jenna
Jenna saw the passenger was the Head of the Royals, but worse:
The driver was Majub!
How could he let Jenna down so.
Off shot the car, spraying Jenna and all on board with mud
Grrrrr, thought Jenna. What did the future hold for him now?
A nice dry and warm car stood there just waiting to go.
No draughty saddle to mount in sun or snow.
Eventually they reached town and Jenna saw the car
Parked just where he would stand to wait the return of his passengers.
Tariq led him in front of the car to wait the return and gave him a bucket of water.
Jenna could not help but look at this fancy car, with all its shiny chrome.
He felt quite tired, with the heavy saddle and the walk he had just done.
He decided he needed to sit down, so he sat down – right on top of this new cars bonnet.
Crunch, crash, smash! Oh dear, what a mess he had made of the shiny new car.
He got up and shuffled forward to look all innocent. But Majub was there.
‘Jenna, what have you done’, said Majub. ‘This will take weeks to repair’
‘Oh good’, thought Jenna. ‘ That will teach them not to use a car’.

JENNA THE ELEPHANT part 2 – AND LIONS by Michael Healy

Michael’s Grandchildren wanted to know what next happened to Jenna


Jenna the elephant had by now, learned to carry the family royal,
He had learned to cope with the weight of a full Howdah,
As well as used to waiting, while his passengers did their business.
Majub was his master, and they had become friends.
Though Jenna knew Majub was boss.

Jenna’s father, Arjuna, was a massive elephant, but now retired.
He spent his days relaxing, wandering around and helping as required.
His lifetime had been spent mainly as transport for the royal family.
He had had a good life, and his son, Jenna, had now taken on his routines,
And he was pleased at the success his son was making of his duties.

As the day started, he saw Jenna being prepared for a trip with the family Royal
Arjuna agreed that he looked very smart, with coloured fabrics in a coil
He watched as they all climbed aboard and sat in their places,
Jenna moved off very slowly and stately, he was not at the races.
He set off down the track to town, but suddenly he stopped.

In front, lying on the track in the sun, was a pride of lions,
Although pretending to be asleep, they were not.
Jenna mustered all the courage he had got,
He had to move them to get by
Looking at his handler, Majub, he could almost cry.

He let lose the best trumpet bellow he could do
Not that it moved the lions.  Even Majub was stuck to.
Suddenly, from behind, came an ear-splitting, extended, bellow.
The Lions fell over each other as they dashed for the bush.

Jenna recognised that bellow and was so pleased.
Arjuna was just behind. He looked at Jenna and teased.
‘We elephants stick together, you know.
If you need me just send a trunk call.’
Majub smiled ‘Old jokes still the best’ he muttered.

Jenna the elephant was so proud by Michael Healy

Jenna the elephant was so proud.


Jenna was an elephant, who came with Royal blood.

His father was so stately, the massive Arjuna was so good.

Jenna was quite shy but knew he had his duties.

Arjuna for many years had been the Royal transport,

Now the time had come for Jenna to take over.

Arjuna’s saddle was huge, decorated with jewels and gold.

Jenna had been fitted for his.  It was now built, but nothing like as bold

He had yet to earn his status, by carrying the Family Royal.

His rider was Majub, a wiry little chap.  He would show him how to toil.

The day came, at least for a practice.  He was to take the Royal boys to town.


Soon he was dressed in all his finery with his saddle fitted along.

He was feeling quite wobbly as the boys climbed on.

His tummy was rumbling and there was little he could do

Suddenly from the back came a tremendous rumble and ‘phew!!’.

Fortunately the boys thought it funny and held their noses tight.

Majub was not at all pleased and said, ‘good job not their father, right’


They set off for town walking slowly down the track

He must note the way so he could lead them back

The further he went the better he felt.  He held his head high with pride.

Majub also looked very smart, indeed he now felt proud

But seeing Jenna act the same, he said we should not yet be proud.

‘There is still much for you to learn’, he said out very loud.


Jenna realised Majub was right and they must be a team.

As they passed along this road with trees on either side

Something stirred within the bushes and Jenna watched his ride

Alarmingly, there was a family of lions that frolicked back and forth.

Majub turned to Jenna and held his rein most tight.


‘Just keep walking on’, he said.  ‘That really is a pride!!’

‘Yes, a pride of lions’, thought Jenna.

He was proud of his bravery.

Dr Michael Healy

Bucket list by Kevin Murphy

Kevin’s response to the ‘Bucket List’ trigger:
Bucket List:
‘I am just a poor boy though my story’s seldom told’… is one of my mantras. My mother was incredibly practical, perhaps out of necessity as my father was not; perhaps from the make do and mend attitude of the war; perhaps because her father was a shoe mender – the inter war years being a busy time, but also one where customers did not return to collect the shoes he had repaired because they could not pay.
My mother got permission to start work not at the statutory accepted end of her 14th school year, but the Monday after her October birthday, just two weeks after war was declared in 1939. For decades after her father died in 1956 (from his Great War wounds – gassing) we had one of his lasts in our cellar.$_35.JPGThis had use right into the eighties – a trade secret to stop heels rubbing – gently hammer out the leather to stretch it.
One of our most famous family stories is about the time my Father got my sister and me to surprise Mother, who would normally wallpaper all by herself, by papering the hall ceiling for her while she was out at mass. All of us on ladders, he at one end, passed to Ces in the middle who passed it to me at the other end. We had difficulty making it stick in the stretches between us. It slowly drooped at one or two points and gradually, oh so gradually, gathered pace until it effectively dressed Ces atop her ladder. She was intrepid though. She did not let go her hand. She did let go of something else. At first the giggle … led to tears of laughter … before she eventually wet herself.
When Ma returned there was a six inch patch of paper in the middle of the hall ceiling, a twelve inch puddle on the hall carpet, and a wasted roll of the wallpaper we could little afford in a corner.
I do try to do all the jobs. Laying a hedge I swung the billhook back and caught the back of my head. Only the dufflecoat hood saved serious injury. I’ve electrocuted myself fixing the washer, and broken a finger dropping a car axle onto it. Though the list of fixables did reduce over the years, I persevere, I am intrepid. I’ve fixed the flat screen TV in the last year … but now I am a bit of a ‘Gunner’ and the list of things I’m gunner fix is getting longer again.
There is no need to fix. I am no longer a poor boy. Money in the bank making negative interest. My kids deny it when I sing ‘I am just a poor boy, though my story’s seldom told. ‘
There’s a hole in my bucket dear Kevin,
I’ll fix it dear Diane…

Sad Extinction of the Trees by Michael Healy

Sad Extinction of the Trees

Ouch! said the tree, I felt that, it hurt.

Yes its that guy down there,

making all that noise and dirt

Haven’t you seen what happened to the Poplar next door to me?

What?   Fallen! cut down flat.

Thirty years growing and that is that.


Through gales, snow and floods we have all stood proud.

New owner comes in and starts to treat us like a crowd.

First one, then two, then ten and twenty; we all crash

Turns us into trash!

All in his first 30 days


Now the rain will run right down the land,

the wind will blow a gale

And as for our neighbours next door;

Now they can see from their abode,

right up to Tuxford Gaol.

Dr Michael Healy, Egmanton

The Story of the models by Thomas Healy aged 10

[Michael Healy has introduced a whole school to our website. His Grandson is following in certain footsteps. It is Retford Writers’ website and no age has been specified. I hope you find this encouraging. Ed.]
My Grandson (who has just turned 10) is very keen on writing, I hope, with some encouragement from me.  He recently presented the story below to me and ask if it could go on Retwords.  I said that was not my decision and Retwords was really for grown ups.  I agreed I would send It to you to see what you think.  His School have also entered him for the BBC’s 500 word competition.  Perhaps we could have a young Writers section?

The Story of the models  by Thomas Healy

It was the night before my birthday and I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow, I will be ten years old. My bedtime  was close by and  I couldn’t stop thinking about my model car that I had bought  today as well as what I might get tomorrow for my birthday. Steadily I fell into a drowsy sleep.  I started to dream and in that dream I was staring at my model of my Dads 1987 2.2 litre 5 cylinder turbo engine Audi Quattro.  Suddenly the engine turned on, I shouted “Dad, Dad is that you” because I did not see my dad.  It started to rev its engine, I did not know what it was going to do next.  Quickly it sped out of the box and started rallying around dad’s lounge and my General-lee Dodge Charger jumped to the three seater sofa honking its Dixie horn as it did so. I had an Avro Lancaster model that was bombing the coffee table thinking it was the Eider Dam out of the dambusters. All my classic and modern red Ferraris were lining up for a dangerous obstacle race.

Someone shouted ready steady go!  And when that Spitfire flew over, the race had started around the coffee table in my dad’s lounge.  The Ferraris were first off the line with the Quattro not far behind, and the General-Lee catching up on them.  Clockwise they were going round the table.  On the second corner a Ferrari crashed, the Spitfire landed to see if it was ok.  On the corner there was a fallen tree, everyone couldn’t get past it apart from the General-Lee.  Suddenly the Shelby GT500 came in with all its might and it pulled the tree out of the way and every one caught up with the General-Lee.  No one realised that the truck was there and the trucks drove in the middle of the track on purpose and the spitfire came out of no where and picked the truck up and put it down on the coffee table so he could not get off.  Suddenly the Dodge Charger clipped the coffee table, spun out and caught fire, everyone stopped.$TMB$&wid=312&hei=312

Steadily, I gradually woke up.  It was my birthday, I ran down the stairs.  I looked at my models in the lounge and they were all in outstanding condition and everything was all ok. I realised it had all been an exciting dream. My dad came in to the lounge as I had woken him coming down the stairs to check to see if I was ok. In his hand he had a present for me in the shape of a box . The box was the size of one for a model car. I was really exited now. I wondered what could it be. It would be amazing if it was a Jaguar E-type . I wonder if it could have joined in the race in my dream. I wonder what dream I may have tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          By  Thomas Healy (Age 10)

Homophones by Michael Healy

Michael’s response to the ‘Confuse’ trigger.


 I said to my Grandchildren,
‘The sun is shining, I will take you to the Park’
When we got there we parked the car at the Park.
As we got out a large stork glided overhead
Shall we go exploring and search for some bare Bears in the wood? Said Tom.
No, we will have a picnic first, here are some bags of crisps
Now for our crisp walk to stalk that stork, he is heading for the lake.
Just over the fence pranced a happy young horse.
I shouted him over until I was horse, but he carried on his way.
In the old farm buildings they were making cheese,
We watched them weigh the curds and whey before going on our way.
Down the path we saw the woodman with a saw to cut off some branches.
He said ‘Hello’ as we walked by, with a pile of wood for sale to buy.
Ahh!, there is our stork inside his nest.  I wonder if it came from the woodman.
Just then the workman finished his toil and the nearby church bells began to toll.
What a lovely sound those bells are making as their notes ring out.
Just then my phone rang; note from Mum,
‘time to go home or we will miss our chips’.
We collected our car from the park, and left the Park.
                                                                                                    Michael Healy

The Homework by Michael Healy

The Homework  by Michael Healy


My nine year-old Grand-son came running up to me

‘Grandpa, Grandpa, I need your help please’.  ‘Just lets see’.

‘Stop and take a breath of air, and tell me what it’s about’.

‘I have my homework to do tonight.’ ‘ Alright, I said, don’t shout.’

‘Well, I will help you if I can, but don’t forget it is YOUR homework’.

‘Tell me what you have been set, you cheeky little Turk’.            


He smiled and snuggled up to me.  How could I not help.

‘We have to make a poster on a scientific theme’,

‘And what subjects had you in mind, and what do they mean’.

He turned his lips down, and produced a sad frown

‘I have looked through the web, but not written anything down’.

Ummm, I thought.  ‘Well let us see’.


‘What about using water as the subject?’

‘No, that will make the paper all wet’                                               

‘Oh, silly billy that is not what I meant’.

‘My names not Billy.  Oh I know, son’

‘And I am your Grandson not your son’

‘Yes I know, it is just the way I talk’.

‘Well can we get on with my project,

instead of this verbal walk’.

I Laughed!

homework rainbow

We get the card for your poster and print ‘WATER’ in the middle

Then print ‘Facts’ on either side almost like a riddle

Followed by pictures across the top of liquid, ice and clouds or steam

The states of water is what we mean

Hey, this sounds good Gramps!

Well now I’ve given you some ideas you can do the research

Thanks Gramps, I will let you sit in peace now, back on your perch.

‘Perch!’ you make me sound like a bald eagle!

I sat back in my chair.

We both laughed.

Michael Healy


A Pair of Faerie Tales by Chris South

A Pair of Faerie Tales written for ‘rival siblings’ by Chris South

Molly (Faerie Tales)

 Happy endings are for children
Molly likes them real
Three little pigs are in the pot
Can’t you hear them squeal?
Cinderella’s slippers smashed
Before she ever reached the ball
She cut herself on the broken glass
And bled to death by her recall.
Molly killed her dolly
By ripping off its head
Molly wants a motorbike
And guns and knives instead
Molly hates the world outside
For leaving her behind
And if the world hates Molly too
Well! Molly doesn’t mind.
Faerie tales are folly
Molly hates them all
Should a prince climb up her hair
She hopes he’ll bloody fall
Should she sleep a hundred years
Waiting to be kissed
She’d keep one eye half open
And make sure the bugger missed.
Molly’s made from slugs and snails
And puppy dogs tails
And things which wouldn’t rhyme
Sugar and spice
Would’ve been nice
But they’re a waste of time
Molly wants to be a boy
’Cause boys have all the fun
But all boys want are faerie tales
When all is said and done!


Image result for ring o' roses

Alice (more Faerie Tales)

 Ring o’ Roses
All fall down
A tissue
I will miss you
When the piper comes to town
Cut the laces from her shoes
Cut the ribbons from her hair
See her face as white as snow
Watch her stand and stare
In the middle of the Blackwood
Children hide behind the trees
Round and round
The candy house
Playing touch and freeze.
The piper’s tune is calling
All the children of the Rhine
Like a regimental marching band
They’re falling into line
Hand in hand
And heel to toe
Across the fields and hills they go
Heading for their Underland
Their eyes are wide
But hypnotised
And fail to understand.
“Alice can you hear me?
Alice are you there?”
Alice in her wonderland
She could be anywhere
Alice sees the children
Marching to their death
Alice has been here before
“Alice take a breath!”
Alice in her dream world
Reliving childhood memories
Alice in a faerie tail
Running through the trees
Ring o’ Roses
Alice falls
Powerless to help the children
When the piper calls.