Poem introduction

Poets enjoy the 'What if?' question. 'What if the sun could sing?', 'What if you could taste happiness?' This poem's question is, 'If you could see laughter, what would it look like?'

If You Could See Laughter

Hey, it is blue! No, surely red
- the colour of each breath
pumped out by the joy of running,
the jumpstart of a joke.

Tickle-breath is long and spiral.
I think.

If you could see laughter
it would look like balloons,
the sort magicians knot in squeaky twists.
Laugh a giraffe.
Guffaw a poodle.

A belly-laugh creates balloons that float.
At the pantomime,
the ceiling of the theatre jostles with colour.
See this baby reaching for the light?
A yellow hiccup of laughter pops out,
floats above us for days.

We could rise off the ground with laughter,
tie strings on it and sail around the world.

from If You Could See Laughter (Salt, 2010), © Mandy Coe, 2010, used by permission of the author and Salt Publishing

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3Round and Round

5Being Human

6Felt Funny All Day

7Wishes for You

8Schooldays End


10What Lives Down the Playground Drain


12Night Night

13Advice for Ponies

14Being the Baddie

15Bottling It Up

16Beyond the Farmyard Gate

17Recipe for Good News

18In My Name

19Row Flow Blow


21Sensing Mother

22Sun Loves Moon

23Hey-la Liverpool

24Marsh Sprite


26The Gift

27Busy Feet

28Questions for a Dad

29The Head's First Name

30The Sunshine of Susan Brown

31From the Mouths of Babes

32My Ma

33Music's Prayer

34Dream Feast


36Me and You

37Queen of the Hive


39Too Young to Understand

40Too Poor for Shoes


42Whiskers for Gold

42Whiskers for Gold

43The Girl Who Discovered Fire

44The Can-can

45The Spirits of Books

46If You Could See Laughter

47Elemental Rules


50Thank You

51Soft as the Blanket

52Flowers Go to School Underground

53Upon Once

54In Bed Sick


56Lost It, Found It