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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

01 May 2021

Posted by Tabby Hayward

LIGHTHOUSE POETRY

11-14
group - 15 attending

15-18 group - 12 attending

This week, we were continuing with our theme of lighthouses, but
looking at poetry about lighthouses...

To begin, we thought about personifying a lighthouse -
personification is when you describe something which isn't human as if it were human, giving it
qualities/characteristics/features which only a human would have.

Looking again at our lighthouse pictures, the young writers picked one and
asked themselves...

If this lighthouse were a person, what sort of a person would
they be?

How old would they be? What gender? What would they look like? What would they
wear?

What sort of personality would they have? Introverted or extroverted? Calm and
peaceful or bad tempered? 

How would they feel? Lonely? Bored? Contented? Frustrated? Joyful?

What could they see?

What could they hear?

Putting all this together, the young writers wrote a short
poem/poetic description introducing their lighthouse character!

Here’s
Annie’s ‘lighthouse person’ poem:

Glowing
smile and bright eyes,
Her hair as bright and yellow as that of a light,
A small bucket hat sits upon her head,
Hair swaying in the wind as she passes,
A cotton dress comes down to her ankles,
Whiter than snow itself,
She wears a red belt across her waist,
Red and white bracelet upon her wrist,
Alone and desperate,
Unable to move,
She guides those on adventures but longs for an adventure herself,
Soon enough her eyes begin to dull,
The white dress stains,
Her smile is no more.

And here’s
Aurora’s description:

The
giant sighed, feeling the holes in his old fleece splash like the waves of the
never-ending sea. His knees dug deep into the soft rock beneath him, keeping
his great body solid in the gales that often froze him near to death. His
breaths were drawn heavily, as if they were being pulled by some great rope in
a violent tug of war, groaning under the massive lantern that laid upon his
cold back. Cold despite the huge flame that hissed and spat where he held it,
warding off doomed ships and unfortunate sailors.                                                                                                       What happened to the
days gone by? What happened to the children who would run up, red-faced from
their play at school, carrying garlands of valley flowers and warm-knitted
blankets to keep him on his age-old mission? Alas, they had long since grown
up, and they now knew of the ancient crime that chains him to this blasted
cliff. And so none would go near him, leaving his white-and-red jumper to rot
on his heaving chest, only withered black stalks hung from his aching neck,
no-one to comfort him.

The
giant sighed, feeling the holes in his old fleece splash like the waves of the
never-ending sea. His knees dug deep into the soft rock beneath him, keeping
his great body solid in the gales that often froze him near to death. His
breaths were drawn heavily, as if they were being pulled by some great rope in
a violent tug of war, groaning under the massive lantern that laid upon his
cold back. Cold despite the huge flame that hissed and spat where he held it,
warding off doomed ships and unfortunate sailors.      

What
happened to the days gone by? What happened to the children who would run up,
red-faced from their play at school, carrying garlands of valley flowers and
warm-knitted blankets to keep him on his age-old mission? Alas, they had long
since grown up, and they now knew of the ancient crime that chains him to this
blasted cliff. And so none would go near him, leaving his white-and-red jumper
to rot on his heaving chest, only withered black stalks hung from his aching
neck, no-one to comfort him. The giant wept when he though of this, creating
cascading waterfalls that ate at the soft chalk rocks beneath his stained
knees. The wind was his only companion, a sneering comrade indeed, that only
whispered snidely before rushing off to annoy someone else.

Next, we
looked at kennings – metaphorical compounds, dating back to Old English and
Viking poetry, which are used as tiny riddles to describe things in unexpected
ways! Some of our young writers were already familiar with kennings (especially
those in the Afterschool Club, where we looked at them last week!) but we went
through the page on kennings on the Young Poets Network together and the
writers all came up with some really imaginative kennings for their lighthouses
– including the ‘sun’s substitute’ and the ‘waves’ boxing bag’!

Next, we
looked at some other examples of poems about lighthouses, from Lighthouse
Keeping
by Kay Ryan to Land’s End by Weldon Kees, The Inland
Lighthouse
by James McMichael, I Was Never Able to Pray by Edward
Hirsch, and Letters from an Institution by Michael Ryan. Some of these
were using lighthouses more as a symbol/metaphor, while others looked at the
imagery surrounding lighthouses and seascapes, exploring ideas of memory,
childhood, nature, the environment and loss. We also looked at the different
ways in which the poems were set out on the page and their use of rhyme, rhythm
and structure – some almost resembling lighthouses in their shape!

Finally,
putting all this together, the young writers wrote their best lighthouse poems,
which could use kennings, personification, metaphors, imagery, shape, and
anything else we had looked at today – or any other techniques they wanted to
explore!

Here is Annie's poem, using kennings, rhyme and personification!

A guide to thee who are lost in the dark,
A bright light as
if a spark,
Standing tall and firm,
A hero to all in a different term,
Watching
over the pool of the world,
A white base with a red twirl,
The candle tower is a
sight for sure.

And check out
Evie’s brilliant lighthouse shape-poem below!

Evie's brilliant lighthouse poem!

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