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Thursday 30 April 2015

JEALOUSY - fab poems by Year 9 students

About a year ago I posted on this blog a lesson plan on the theme of 'jealousy'. The lesson was based around the poem 'The Jealous Ones' by Jacob Sam-La Rose. As sometimes happens, it was a while before I actually got round to using the lesson idea myself. I am very pleased to be able to report that the lesson was a success, and resulted in some wonderful poetry by my students. Here are two poems on the theme of 'jealousy' that I'd like to share.

Jealous by Sadiyya
You have your flaws and your ups and downs
But still you have so much better qualities than me
My eyes have never been as bright as yours
Nor my smile so perfect like the sun in the morning sky
When I walk into a room heads don’t turn
Yet when you do all eyes are on you
And through all your flaws you shine and burn with confidence
Why can I not be like you?
I stand at the back of the class
Watching as you talk to all the others, laughing, smiling,
And I observe you, trying to learn how to do it
Though deep in my heart, I know no matter how much I try,
You will always be your confidence self
And I will always be the wanna be girl.

Jealousy by Shawmia

What is jealousy?
Jealousy is what?
I, I just don’t know how to explain it…
It is like sinister is injected into something so gullible,
However, it has a lot more to it,
More hate, more annoyance going on…
Jealousy is like the poisonous green juice extracted
From envy which grows day by day abruptly,
Jealousy is now stabbing me one by one,
Jealousy gives me a feeling of deathliness,
It’s an emotion of perish,
But I will tell you one thing…
Jealousy is harsh and addictive,
Like the methamphetamine which devours through a human
And decays them…
I am now telling you…
Do not fall into the trap of jealousy,
It will make you suffer like you are in a great dilemma
Of choosing one of your beloved.
Prepare to loose and pass every second of your life hatredly.

Monday 27 April 2015

Amazing Poem by Madiha, Year 8

I am honoured to be able to share this breathtaking poem written by Madina, a girl in one of my Year 8 groups. Part of the joy of what I do is that not only do I work with students to develop literacy skills and a love of language, but I also get a genuine insight into their lives. Madiha's poem is painful in its honesty, and is written with the kind of simplicity that I really like in a poem. She should be very proud of herself, I'm sure you'll agree.

Poem by Madiha (Year 8)

I can’t see very much as I sit at the very top of the stairs,
Watching and observing.
My sister gets up, as soon as she thinks I have fallen asleep,
to help pack.
I peek through the bottom of the door.
Gentle sobs come from the room.
The tear drops slam against the ground,
harder than I would’ve imagined.
The tiny droplets of salt water solution carry great emotion,
Pain and fear.
“You have to be there for your sister”, he says.
“Don’t tell Madiha”, my mum says.
“you have to be there for your sister. You must be her
everything”, he continues…
“Just 3 months”
A moment of silence, ‘til I hear my sister coming.
I run to my bed.
I pretend to sleep as I taste a tear roll down my cheek
and into my mouth.
That question remains in my mind.
Why was it hidden from me?
Why did no one want to tell me?
3 months turned to 6 months, then a year, then two.
Finally he came home.
Did they not think I would notice being searched
before a visit?
How I wouldn’t figure out, eventually?
I’m not that stupid.
I missed him very much, now I’m glad he’s home.
But every day I’m frightened of what his long work nights
I’m scared he’ll go back.
And I don’t want that to repeat.
As to this day no one knows that I knew.
Only I did, then my sister, then my friends,
now you.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Glass - new poem


Like kids we stand, either side of the glass.
We strain our faces up against the pane,
flinching from each other’s features.

This game used to be fun.
The way the window used to mould
the nose and lips, flatten the tongue –

we’d laugh at the monsters we created;
we’d draw patterns with our fingers
in the window’s condensation.

Now we hammer on the glass,
slam our heads against it.
We hear each other’s voices

as clouds of muffled noise.
There’s nothing we can do about it.
We’re visible but separated.
This poem is about struggling to form connections with others when in the grip of anxiety. It wasn't easy to write, either intellectually or emotionally.

Friday 17 April 2015

Jimmy Smash - new poem

Some new poems I put on my website, and some I put on my blog. I decide which goes where on the basis of various factors: my website is usually reserved for poems that I'm satisfied are finished - I take a kind of publish-and-be-damned attitude to the poems there. Also, the website poems are aimed at primary school children, although there are several that I have shared with older children and even adults. On my blog I sometimes put poems that are in varying states of unfinishedness, and/or poems that are aimed at an older audience. Here is one of them. Feedback welcome.

Jimmy Smash

We’d wait for you after school,
save you a seat on the bus.
You’d always come and sit with us.
Probably at first you thought we

were your friends. You went home
and told your mum you’d met
some new mates. Sometimes
we’d wait for you at the gates, and do

that thing where you kick the back of
someone’s knees, making them buckle.
We’d laugh at the way you said owww!
and you’d laugh too. You must have

realised, after a while, that we
were not in this for friendship.
When you came to fill that empty seat
with your cheeks as fresh

as virgin snow and your eyes
like targets, we’d stamp on your face
with our own insecurities.
Our jibes were fragile arrows.

You weren’t to know this, of course.
You stuck around for over a year,
playing the jester to our clique of kings.
At the time we told ourselves that you

didn’t mind, that it was all a bit of fun.
The other day, my mum ran into yours
at Sainsbury’s. I’ve since found out
that you used to cry into your pillow

every day after school. It took years
of therapy to wipe the footprints clean.
And for what it’s worth, I broke my bow
and my feet are still full of blisters. 

Monday 13 April 2015

Primary School Pupils Performing My Poems!

Recently, pupils from The District CE Primary School in St Helens held a poetry performance competition. I was overjoyed to learn, via Twitter, that two classes performed poems by me! I put lots of my poems on my website, so it was really lovely for me to discover that people had been reading and enjoying them.

Here are videos of their fantastic performances:

As ever, you can view lots more poems to read and perform at