If All The World Were Paper

If all the world were paper
I would fold up my gran
and take her everywhere I go.
I would laminate my baby sister in bubble wrap
and lay her to sleep in unbound fairy-tale book pages.
And should she get scared,
rip every fear,
shred every scream,
tear every tear.

If all the world were paper
I would re-bind my grandfather,
smooth out the dog-ears to all his stories,
place his younger days in a zoetrope
and flush the harrowing chapters
down an ink-gurgling well.

If all the world were paper,
kind deeds would be post-it notes
that stick to the doer in ever-growing trails,
so we would always remember,
friends would come with perforated lines
so you could keep their best bits with you
at all times.

If all the world were paper,
Christmas wrapping foil and birthday cards
would follow you to school.

If all the world were paper
dreams would be braille
so we could read them whilst we slept,
nightmares would be shopping lists
because shopping lists are so easy to forget.

If all the world were paper
arguments would rustle before they started
and could be put right with a little tape.

If all the world were paper
we could paperclip families together,
draw smiles on all the sad faces,
rub out the tears,
cover our homes in Tippex and start all over again.

All the world is not paper,
but whilst we can imagine it were
we can recycle the rough times
knowing we will never ever fold.

Copyright: first published in The Works 6 edited by Pie Corbett (Macmillan, 2007), © Joseph Coelho 2007, from Werewolf Club Rules: Poems (Frances Lincoln, 2014), used by permission of the author and the publisher

More about this poem

Joseph grew up in Roehampton on the outskirts of London. Living in a tower block and other childhood memories feature in many of his poems.

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About If All The World Were Paper

It’s a real pleasure to know that in some small way my little poem has inspired many other poems in many schools up and down the country, maybe it will inspire you to get writing.

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