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Tuesday 20 June 2017

What's In a Name? - Poems for Ramadan

I have been working with a group of students to create poems based around the 99 names of Allah. According to Islam, God has 99 names, often referred to as the 'beautiful names', and hearing them read aloud is very poetic. I asked students to consider the fact that many things have more than one name. For example, my name is 'Josh', but I am also 'a poet', 'a son' and 'a glasses-wearer'. Given this, students were invited to consider several different names or descriptions of themselves, and to use these to create a poem, with an emphasis on beauty and creativity. Here is a selection of their fantastic poems:

I Am by Fatima

I am a friend,
there when I’m needed but I know when to step back
I am a daughter,
shouting at my mum
asking “what do you want?”
I am a student,
determined to persevere
through the hardship that is school
I am a female,
understanding how hard it is
to be a woman
even in this day and age
I am a human,
I make mistakes
and try to correct them.
I have bad days
and I have good days.

What Am I? by Thanha

What am I?
I am a library of valuable,
unnecessary thoughts,
a garden of iridescent thoughts
ready to burst into colourful flowers
only to be beaten by the heavy rain
of reality.
I am a lucky dip.
The impatience produced bombards many with unbearable opinions.
I am fire.
I spread warmth
to the cold, gloomy atmosphere.
My intricate sparks
beautify the world.
Be warned – don’t get too close to me:
you will be left
with the most painful sting
that will remain
until you come again.
However, the real question is:
What am I?

I Am by Iqra

I am
A mind with a library of uselessness,
I am the shadows of the night,
Reserved yet exposed.
I am a raincloud within
A garden of flowers.
I am the rope holding you up.
I am a cheesecake-loving bookworm,
Adventuring into the unknown.
I am a firecracker ready to explode.
I am stuck for ideas.

The Dark by Shohana

I am the spark that starts the fire
I am the friend that starts the feud
I am the snake that poisons you
I am the fiend that reveals your secrets
When I sleep I think of you
And also myself too
Our future together can be as bright as the sun
Or as dark as my heart
My only advice to you right now
Would be to run.

Call me a snake
Call me a serpent
Call me a devil
Call me a demon
But what really matters right now
Is me
And I can do anything for myself.
You’ll see.

I Am by Joshua Seigal

I am
a reluctant poet,
struggling for words on the page.
I am an accidental teacher,
Learning and growing
from my mistakes.
I am a stubborn ox
pushing a plough
through the tangled field
of life.
I am a thinker of thoughts
twisting and turning
like a tornado.
I am a glasses-wearer
and a helping hand.
I am.
(written in 2 mins)

Image result for 99 names
(the 99 names of God, in Arabic)

Wednesday 14 June 2017

THE EARTH - Poem by one of my students

In class, it sometimes happens that a student will write a poem that is only tangentially related, or not related at all, to the theme of the workshop. One of the key things that differentiates my role from that of a more traditional teacher is that I love it when this happens. In the days (or weeks, depending on how lazy I am!) to come, I will be sharing some poems on the theme of Islam and the 99 names of Allah. However, I'd like for now to share a different poem that was written during the workshop. Arundhati took the idea of an object having different attributes, and ran with it. Here is her fantastic poem:

Earth by Arundhati

I am the earth.
I am far greater and larger than any creature,
yet I stand beneath.
I give you my children to take care of
yet you tread on them like they are worthless.
I give you my tears of joy
yet you force me to cry as you need water.
I give you love, kindness and happiness
yet you pierce my heart for my diamonds.
I give you everything you need
yet you take advantage and ask for more.
I sacrifice my life to make you satisfied
even though I am dying.
Each day I am dying.
You will not recognise me
until I am gone. 

Image result for ecology