a little dog
jumping up on you.
cushions, neatly arranged
in the living room.
your mum trying to talk
before you’re ready.
your brother with
the TV on too loudly.
the neighbours complaining
about the noise.
a place where
you’re always welcome
This is a fun workshop, based on describing abstract concepts in concrete terms. After sharing my poem (above) with the group, perhaps along with the famous poem 'Love Is' by Adrian Henri, ask students for ideas about other important concepts. Write each of these down on a sheet of large paper. Examples of such concepts that I have used include Love, Home, Fear, School, Family, Friendship and Depression.
Once this has been done, place each of these sheets at various points throughout the room. The students are now free to roam around the room as they please, going up to different sheets of paper and completing the sentences 'Home is...', 'Love is...', 'Fear is...', etc, on the sheets of paper. Each student should aim to have written something on all the sheets.
Each student chooses a concept that they want to write a poem about. They go up to the relevant piece of paper, and use all the ideas written thereupon to write their own poems. The beauty of this is that they now have a bank of ideas from everyone in the class to draw upon. Here are some poems written by girls in Years 7 and 8, with whom I run an after-school poetry club:
You Are by Umerah
You are the sugar to my sweets.
You are the milk to my tea.
You are the fizz to my coke.
You are the soul to my happiness.
You are the answer to my problems.
You are the rubber to rub out my mistakes.
You are the pen to my paper.
You are the taste to my tastebuds.
Fear Is by Zahrah
Fear is when nightmares creep up on you.
Fear is when the spiders crawl around.
Fear is when people are bullied.
Fear is like a flaming fire inside you.
Fear can ruin the whole of your life.
Fear can be cramped up inside.
Fear is when your friends leave you.
Fear insults you in front of everyone.
Fear is when you are walked off the plank.
Fear is scary, but we can face it!