Nonsense Verse for Children

I have to warn you, nonsense verse is the poetic equivalent of Marmite. You'll either love it or you'll hate it. Those who love it will revel in the strange parallel universes that Max's nonsense verse conjures up, immerse themselves in fantastical setting and weird characters, and puzzle over the meaningless made-up words. Those who hate it should just spit it out and move on.

A Poem About A Tiger. Or Is It?

Max's Tiger, Tiger echoes William Blake's poem The Tyger, but Max's poem being nonsense verse nothing is at all what is seems.

Poem Title

Tiger, Tiger

Author

Style

Nonsense poem

Age Range

8-14

Key Stage

KS2, KS3

Length

10 lines

Tiger Tiger

Tiger, tiger, burning dark,
In the playground of the park,
Flying high upon the swings,
Flitting from gymnasium rings,
Oh, can a mortal man like me,
Ever match your symmetry?
Or will I stand here at the railings,
Torn between the swings and palings,
Oh tiger, tiger, what’s the key,
To be like you, for one like me?

A Fish With An Enormous Appetite

In nonsense verse terms, this is an easy poem to understand as there are no made-up words. It's simply a poem about a goldfish with a huge appetite who eats anything and everything.

Poem Title

The Hungry Fish

Author

Style

Nonsense poem

Age Range

6-14

Key Stage

KS1, KS2, KS3

Length

18 lines

The Hungry Fish

The goldfish was a-swimming round, around the great big lake,
He said I want some chocolate, boys, I wants a chocolate cake,
He said I am so hungry, boys, that I will surely die,
So he ate the state of Texas and a maple pecan pie.

He swallowed up three shins of beef, he ate a leg of ham,
He thought that he was surely full, but then he ate a yam,
He loved that sweet potato taste and so he had some more,
And ate a spit-roast farmer’s ox as he’d done in days of yore.

Three wombats and a grizzly bear he swallowed one by one,
He ate a hefty hefalump, although it weighed a ton,
A vat of crisps and ginger bread, a stale week-old pork pie,
Two meatball cans, spaghetti hoops and a loaf of rye.

At last he cried, enough, enough, this is enough for me,
I have to stop the eating now, I’m going home for me tea.

Chip And Pin Anyone?

A nonsense poem about two brothers who are called Chip and Pin. The nonsense element revolves not only around their unusual antics, but the recurrence throughout the poem of words and phrases related to chips and pins.

Poem Title

The Ballad of Chip and Pin

Author

Style

Nonsense poem

Age Range

6-14

Key Stage

KS1, KS2, KS3

Length

26 lines

The Ballad of Chip and Pin

There once were two brothers called Chip and called Pin,
One was very fat, the other was thin,
They lived in a bungalow at old Chipping Sodbury,
The price that they paid for it was very near robbery.

One day they were sat and decided to anoint,
At a place on the map that they chose to pin point,
The memory of their dad who kept an old lock,
And said that his sons were a chip off his block.

They rang the old man but he was screening his calls,
So they tried to pin him down inside his four walls,
But his refusal to meet them became decidedly pointed,
And old Chip Senior just refused to be anointed.

So they decided at last to adopt grey pin stripes,
And chip in together for a set of bagpipes,
And there do we leave them, playing their song,
On a souvenir pin cushion, made in Hong Kong.

A Plumbing Poem Which Plumbs New Depths

Perhaps just a poem about a plumber, but if so it's one of the most unusual plumbing poems you're likely to encounter.

Poem Title

Radiator Guy

Author

Style

Nonsense poem

Age Range

8-14

Key Stage

KS2, KS3

Length

6 lines

Radiator Guy

Radiator guy won’t you come out tonight,
My heart is cold, my head is light,
Come let the water through my system,
Heat my pipes, catalogue them, list them,
Stoke my boiler, clank my chain,
Make my heating work again.

A Feeding Frenzy

There are talking tea cakes and much more besides in this very silly, very funny poem about food.

Poem Title

The Food Chain

Author

Style

Nonsense poem

Age Range

6-14

Key Stage

KS1, KS2, KS3

Length

10 lines

The Food Chain

The doughnut asked the butter scone, Is it time for tea?
It is, replied the Kunzel cake, I hope they don’t eat me!
The sausage breathed a heavy sigh, At least it’s not yet dinner,
And if they skipped that dratted course they’d end up so much thinner.

But what about that breakfast thing? the cornflake glumly cried,
OK for you, the egg yoke said, at least you won’t be fried!
The bread it gulped a gulpy gulp, I hope they don’t want toast,
And the ginger snaps did softly chant, Please eat the Sunday roast.

While jelly sat upon its plate and shivered in the sun,
Oh, being in the Food Chain, it really isn’t fun!

A Nonsense Poem Inspired By Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, wrote wonderful nonsense verse, including his masterpiece, The Hunting of the Snark. However, he died a long, long time ago. In this poem an imagined meeting between the poet, Max Scratchmann, and Lewis Carroll is retold in nonsense verse.

Poem Title

A Summer Stroll with Lewis Carroll

Author

Style

Nonsense poem

Age Range

9-14

Key Stage

KS2, KS3

Length

12 lines

A Summer Stroll with Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll, he went a-walking, one blustery summer’s day,
And bumped into the Fluttersnoop, in the merry month of May.
Good Snoop, how do you rumble, in the slimy tove and stew,
And how are all the Moomraths, who used to live with you?

Good Sir, they are slip-sloth, and skoobered to a man,
But seven of them are schlepping in the back of that green van,
The rest they are out slothing, upon the snow and ice,
And doing sneckville sneckabunds, which really aren’t nice.

Snowbuff, snowbuff, the poet mused, sniganda do za roo,
I have to say I wouldn’t have a zot sarong like you.
The Snoop he cried a crystal tear, he sniffed, indeed it’s ronsense,
I’m glad that I bumped into you, you speak such fluent nonsense.

Have You Ever Met a Pobble?

The return of the Pobble, which was originally the creation of Edward Lear, the master of nonsense poetry.

Poem Title

The Pobble Who Has All His Toes

Author

Style

Nonsense poem

Age Range

8-14

Key Stage

KS2, KS3

Length

16 lines

The Pobble Who Has All His Toes

There once was a Pobble who had all his toes,
And he said with a stifled yawn,
I’m not an old Pobble to tell all my woes,
But I’m careful when I’m mowing the lawn.

I don’t put my toes in piggy-wig pens,
I don’t cut my wood with an axe,
I don’t keep a donkey or pecky-peck hens,
And I pays all my duties and tax.

I dance very lightly and ballet with care,
I’m a waltzer who’s sent straight from Heaven,
I never do more than I do that I dare,
And I’m tucked up in bed by half-seven.

So count them, remount them, I have all my ten,
Ten toes to go Pobbling free,
I’m quite philosophical, definitely Zen,
And there’s no-one has toes quite like me.

Bonsoir To The Night Bird

A poem about a bird and a pussy cat which reaches a most gruesome conclusion.

Poem Title

The Night Bird

Author

Style

Nonsense poem

Age Range

6-14

Key Stage

KS1, KS2, KS3

Length

12 lines

The Night Bird

Orville was a stupid bird, he slept by day and sang by night,
And flew out in his underwear whene’er he got a fright.
One night he sang a song of love to a pussy called Britannia,
The cat said, Birdie, come on down, so I can gild and tan ya.
He glided down a moonlight tree and sang without a stutter,
And Britannia took some Worcester sauce and ate him for her supper.

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Funny Poems and Nonsense Verse for Kids
Funny Poems and Nonsense Verse for Kids
Copyright © Nonsense Poems for Kids / Patrick Winstanley 2002-2015 All Rights Reserved.
Individual poems are copyright Max Scratchmann and used with permission