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Splish, splash, pitter, patter, plop went the rain - National Poetry Day

26/09/17

With National Poetry Day on 28th September, our blogger Ray will attempt to convey the feeling of those ‘Eureka’ moments during his own school days as the result of an inspiring teacher.

When I was at school, I was amazed, surprised and shocked that poetry could in its simplest terms be a list of adjectives or onomatopoeic adjectives with a few nouns. ‘Splish, splash,pitter, patter, plop went the rain…’ I was thrilled to be praised and a little confused that a poem did not have to rhyme.

Obviously, I have since discovered that it is far more complex to create ‘proper poetry’ and there is a real art to it, but in those early days I was smitten by the poetry bug and still love the word play today. In fact my chosen career path was advertising and I went on to have a successful time combining this with my art skills.

Words have always fascinated me, ever since the same English teacher introduced me to Roget’s Thesaurus. She explained that this book will help me to find words to use when the ones I have thought of are not quite right. I thought it was brilliant, a book that taught you new words. My school was a tough, inner city comprehensive and my parents had limited education, so a book which helped me to expand my vocabulary was great. Even if asking my parents for Roget’s Thesaurus for Christmas was met with confusion and raised eyebrows.

Words featured early in my childhood, when I designed a new drinking carton with the headline ‘Is this the end of Cankind?’ – I was nine.

For me, being an art teacher, this art form represents drawing/painting with words. Have you ever listened to a really well written song, the way it conjures up an emotion in a few poignant words? 

“My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies; fairy tales of yesterday will grow but never die."

 

This is the pure poetry, some would say. I don’t claim to know the correct way to lay out a poem, or know the correct structure of poetry. I am ignorant to stanzas, couplets, quatrains or sestets but I do know that poems should be expressive, emotive and full of passion.

These are my poems and I want you to feel something! I have transformed a version of the famous quote:

“People don’t remember what you said but how you made them feel.”

I want students to remember what I said because of how it made them feel.

A Student’s poem

Gazing out the window, school days, school gaze
Daydreaming about the future, 12.30, 3.30, school haze
Monotone voices, raised arms and flying chalk
Filthy windows, carved desks, ‘End’ bell and a long walk

A desert of boredom and a mirage of dreams
A good teacher to inspire is needed, it seems
One teacher says copy this down, another reads his book
I love Art, I create some work but he never takes a look

“This story is amazing, full of depth and charm”
Exclaimed my English teacher, placing a book in my palm
“Can you write a list of water sounds?”
Perplexed, I said “Yes”, surrounded by frowns

‘Splish,Splash..’, I wrote a poem, I didn’t know it
By creating a picture from words, am I a poet?

Thanks Miss Nunn for giving praise to my words
My English tests got better, I’m getting First’s not Third’s
I created stories with twists, I’ve learnt to let my mind go wild
I use a Roget’s Thesaurus and words not used by a child

“What job do you want? “ said the career lady giving advice
“Advertising, please” ,“I like to draw, so thought that would be nice”
“No, it’s too tough”, “You can’t do it.” “Another one?”
My talent says I can, it speaks for itself and so does Miss Nunn.

 

A Teacher’s Poem

The noisy, brash, class arrived with attitude, loud.
How can I engage them so they feel content and proud?
They squabble, they laugh, they sit and they wait
I take the Register of those here, those absent and those late

On the board I draw my logo, my tag, my mark
“Why do you do that?”, “Are you an artist?” they bark
“What is a logo? I say ,”Can you draw your own name?”
“Not with words or initials! Like mine, but not the same”

“Now express emotion, describe that feeling and have fun
List sounds of the rain That’s it, that’s one..
It’s a poem, it’s a feeling, it’s creative, it’s a part of me
Describe a poem as a slogan” –‘It’s words tumbling free’

The students show their logos, their poems, their art
They are proud, their identity is clear, it tells them apart

As a child, two teachers inspired me, made a change
to my ideas, to my vocabulary and to my range
I hope I have done some good today and inspired a few
I awakened a passion to change what they knew

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