A Chance in France – a poem by Pie Corbett

We thought we’d combine our passion for poetry and our love of tasty English cuisine; in particular the meat pie. So here’s a poem by Pie Corbett entitled ‘A Chance in France’. We love the tempo and rhythm of this poem and it reminds us in some ways of John Cooper Clarke, ‘the bard of Salford’, the punk poet from Manchester, famous for his rapid-fire renditions of his poems. In particular his poem, ‘Majorca’. Check out his website or better still watch his live performances on You Tube.

The great thing about ‘A Chance in France’ is that budding student poets love extending the poem. If the writer ‘took a walk in New York’ and ‘lost a sneaker in Costa Rica’ what did he do in Izmir? Maybe he shed a tear, had a beer, showed no fear! What about in Istanbul? Or………..

A Chance in France

‘Stay at home,’
Mum said,
But I took a chance in France,
turned grey for the day in St Tropez,
forgot what I did in Madrid,
had some tussels in Brussels
with a trio from Rio,
lost my way in Bombay,
nothing wrong in Hong Kong,
felt calmer in Palma,
and quite nice in Nice,
yes, felt finer in China,
took a room in Khartoum
and a villa in Manilla,
had a ‘do’ in Peru,
with a llama from Lima,
took a walk in New York
with a man from Milan.
lost a sneaker in Costa Rica,
got lumbago in Tobago,
felt a menace in Venice,
was a bore in Singapore,
lost an ear in Korea,
some weight in Kuwait,
tried my best as a guest in old Bucharest,
got the fleas in Belize
and came home.

Pie Corbett


About The Henry Brothers

We are English teachers involved in ELT publishing in Turkey, and also touring the country giving workshops and presentations to English teachers, mainly on the use of poetry, storytelling and other lively activities in the classroom. We can be contacted by e-mail to canmoorcroft@gmail.com or paul.zarraga@gmail.com
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12 Responses to A Chance in France – a poem by Pie Corbett

  1. Pie Corbett says:

    This poem will be in my new collection ‘Evidence of Dragons’ which comes out in July, published by Macmillan Children’s Books – the book has a number of other poems that make models for children’s writing. I’m writing this from the Wirral – just saw a squirrel in Wirral! I wrote the poem using an atlas – made a list of place names that had obvious rhymes and then tried to get a jogging, train like rhythm for chanting it. i usually perform this a top speed.

    • Wow! A comment from the man himself on our blog! Superb! Pie, we hope you approve of us using your poem? We’re big fans and are would love to see you in Turkey at one of the big ELT conferences! By the way, what would you do in Izmir?

  2. Pingback: Our blogroll. Who are these people? | The Henry Brothers' Jim Jam Slam

  3. Right, A Chance in France is going to be my lesson tomorrow! Great for pronunciation work – both rhyming sounds and rhythm. My only problem is reading it aloud – where the heck do I breathe??? Thanks Henry Brothers, and Pie of course.

    (ate porridge in Norwich)

    ps ‘got THIS near to Izmir’?

  4. john says:

    read it out loud good but at the start i said took a chance in my pants as i ha bit of romace

  5. ibrahim says:

    I saw it for the first time, in a book of poetry for kids, its been years but I still feel its a cool travel song, I even wrote my version 🙂

  6. Jill parr says:

    Have chosen this poem for my 6 yr old to read out in school about different countries! Fits the ill perfectly! Trying to work out how to print it, to stick in his homework book!

  7. Pingback: A Chance in France by Pie Corbett – 100 Great Poetry Lessons

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