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April 2024 - Year 26 - Issue 2

ISSN 1755-9715


Alan Maley has been involved with ELT for over 50 years. He has lived and worked in 10 countries worldwide, including China and India. He is a prolific author. He is a founder member of the Creativity Group (The C group). In 2012 he was given the ELTons Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a regular contributor to HLT Mag. Email:


Words 1

Words are worms.

They wriggle across the paper

leaving squirming worm-casts,

smudged messages,

difficult to read.


Words are ants

that swarm in black

colonies, form lines,

then dissolve into mobs 

of squabbling letters.


Words are snakes,

slithering silently 

over the white surface,

leaving serpentine traces,

puzzles to solve.


Words are birds –

See how they fly off the page

And into the wind,

How they flock and migrate

Across borders…


See how they rub shoulders,

these words,

desperately seek out their friends,

pair off with each other,

make up threesomes,


whole texts,

thickets of meaning.


Hear how they trip off the tongue,

old or young,

rich or poor,

opening doors

or pushing them shut…

but still we seek them out,

celebrate them with a shout

of recognition.


Give me a noun 

as big as the horizon,

or as small as a grain of pollen.


Give me a verb

as vibrant as springtime,

as fluid as rain.


Drown me in adjectives.

Tie me up with conjunctions.

Flog me with adverbs…


Give me a basket full of words

so that I can scoop them up

and scatter them

across the world

to germinate and ripen.


Words anti-social, words emotional.

Words full of zest, words full of rest.

Words revealing, words concealing.

Words that lie, words that cry.

Words adverbial, words proverbial.

Words in the mouth, words in the mind,

Words of comfort, words unkind.


In the beginning

was the word..,

and in the end

it will still be heard


You can take my word

For it.


Words 2

Some words are happy and some words are sad.

Some words are scented and others smell bad.

Some words are open and some words are sly.

Some words are slimy and others are dry.

Some words are cold and some words are hot.

Some words are tender and others are not.

Some words are honest but other words cheat.

Some words are bitter and others are sweet.

Some words move quickly, some words are slow.

Some words are shrinking while some others grow.

Some words are filthy and some words are clean.

Some words are generous, others are mean.

Some words are old and some words are new,

And others are waiting their turn in the queue.

Some words we use little and some quite a lot.

Some words are remembered, and others - forgot.

Tagged  Poems