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© more by Colin West

Published: September 21, 2021

O, its bones may be colossal,
But the trouble with a fossil
Is that it doesn’t give a clue
As to the creature’s actual hue.

Those Pterodactyl things that flew,
Were they red or green or blue?
And that Brontosaurus fellow,
Did he come in mauve and yellow?

As for those Stegosaurus types,
Maybe they had snazzy stripes?
And was Tyrannosaurus Rex
Perhaps adorned with spots or checks?

And was old Archaeopteryx
Just one colour, or a mix?
And Woolly Mammoth, what d’you think,
Purple, puce or shocking pink?



Colin West was born in 1951 in Epping, Essex, a town which forms the final eastbound stop on the Central Line of London’s Underground system. He showed an early interest in drawing, and loved making his own books, using either notebooks, or stapling together his own pages. One of his earliest memories is that of his mother reading him Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat, from the Oxford Book of Light Verse. It remains one of his favourite poems.

At elementary school, Colin was classmates with Jill Barklem, who later created the well-known Bradley Hedge series for children. Colin went on to Grammar School, which he left when he turned sixteen, to do a foundation course in art at a local college. He then went on to study Graphic Design, and later Illustration, at London’s Royal College of Art.

Throughout his student years, Colin was nurturing his love of poetry, and at around 21, he started writing Nonsense Verse in earnest. His influences were Edward Gorey, Ogden Nash and Roger McGough. He also soaked up the witty lyrics of Cole Porter and Lorenz Hart in particular.

Colin had a successful career writing and illustrating over fifty children’s books with such titles as Have You Seen the Crocodile? and The Big Book of Nonsense. In 2012 Colin and his wife Cathie moved to the south coast of England with the aim of retiring, but he has found it impossible to give up writing and drawing because he still enjoys it! His latest collection of humorous verse is entitled Barmy Ballads.

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I just love the poem. I had been feeling a bit low, and then I read your poem and the world felt like a brighter place. Thank you.

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