On Track Stuff

Getting into the spirit with Borobi, at the Queen’s Baton Relay.

Have you ever cooked up a poem? This is a favourite recipe of mine – for a Sport Star poem. You can’t fail to cook up some winning words!

This recipe requires a mix of metaphors – so we probably should talk about how to choose a metaphor.

A metaphor is a comparison between two things, based on resemblance or similarity, without using “like” or “as”. We use metaphors to create a strong visual image – so choose comparisons that create vivid pictures, and sound appealing. Don’t pick a cliché – that’s already been done.


Recipe for a Sport Star Poem:

Sport Star’s Name

Sport Star is… an animal
Sport Star is… an instrument
Sport Star is… a transport
Sport Star is… a tool
Sport Star is… a weather
S/he is ……………………….


Recipe poems are great fun, because they give a start-point, and structure – but you can spice them up with creativity! For example;

Michael Phelps (short version)

Michael Phelps is
a killer whale.
Michael Phelps is
a set of crashing cymbals.
Michael Phelps is
a supersonic rocket.
Michael Phelps is
a pool cleaner.
Michael Phelps is
a raindrop.
He is the greatest
Olympian of all time.


Michael Phelps (extended version)

Michael Phelps is a killer whale
slicing through the ocean
in pursuit of frantic seals.
Michael Phelps is a set of
crashing cymbals building tension
in a dramatic orchestral performance.
Michael Phelps is a supersonic rocket
soaring into outer space –
returning to his own galaxy.
Michael Phelps is a pool cleaner
gone ballistic, slurping everything
in the water.
Michael Phelps is a raindrop… a stream…
a waterfall… crashing and thundering
triumphant down Mount Spitz.
He is an ordinary boy who defied
school bullies and conquered the world –
the greatest Olympian of all time.

Poetry © Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved.


Both poems follow the recipe. Both poems are right! The second poem just spices it up more.

(Yes, I know Michael Phelps isn’t in the Commonwealth – and he’s retired. It’s just an example. Incidentally, I wrote this poem after the 2008 Olympic Games – which is crazy, considering how much more he then went on to achieve.)

Now it’s your turn in the kitchen. Choose your sport star, and get cooking. Don’t roast them – or make them stew… Let them sizzle like the stars they are!  And, if sport isn’t really your thing, think of a person who inspires you – whatever they do – and apply the same recipe. Chop to it!

While your poem is marinating, you might like to savour a sporty verse novel I cooked up, about two brothers, Shaun and Toby. Here’s a little taste…


“Only a skilled writer can craft so few words into free verse poems which, when sequenced, form a narrative which is engaging, heartwarming and inspiring all at once. On Track ticks all the right boxes for me in terms of a class novel study.”
Megan Daley (Children’s Books Daily)

“This book will ring true for anyone who has ever participated in an Australian sports carnival. The poetry is so well crafted and the story is heart breaking, heart warming and accessible to anyone, whether or not they like sports.”
Younger Sun Bookshop

You’ll find more information about ‘On Track’ under the Kat’s Books dropdown tab.