Long silence is a common symptom of being too busy, a widespread yet oft-overlooked disease.
Poetry has not been a huge feature of the last year. I began teacher training in September and since then I have spent most of my time writing weekly reflections, lesson plans and evaluations, with an occasional essay thrown in. (I usually forget this when people ask “and are you writing?” and say no, but actually I am writing all the time. Regrettably, no fun stuff.)
I am currently on a placement with a class of 5-7 year olds, and would you know it, we’re halfway through a two-week course of poetry. This is very exciting, not least because I have more children’s poetry books than I know what to do with.
Last week I entertained them with Ian McMillan‘s 10 Things Found in a Shipwrecked Sailor’s Pocket, told them several fairy tales about mermaids, and we all wrote exciting poems about what murderous mermaids and mouldy mermaids and magical mermaids keep in their pockets (shark’s teeth, purple poisons, letters from pirates, and sparkly leotards apparently).
This week we’re writing poems based on Pie Corbett’s Imagine poetry, which is all very well and good, only none of Pie’s are really about the sea.
Oh no! Sadness! I will have to write my own sea version for them to read and innovate. My sorrow knows no bounds.
Fortunately writing poetry is something our lecturers have actively encouraged us to do, and to share it with the children. After all, if they don’t see that poetry is a thing that adults genuinely value and do, why should they do it? If they don’t see us go through the process of choosing our vocabulary, ordering lines, editing, umming and ahhing, how will they know to do it?
Now if only I could persuade the school to organise a trip to the nearest beach. We’re only 60 miles from the coast, no big deal….
the sea’s cackle as it fingers cool pebbles,
the stillness of the striped rock
holding centuries of secrets in its veins,
the staring cliff face.
a storm whistling on the cliff tops
calmly toppling stone mountains,
giving the land a fierce hug
to welcome it home.