The creative theme was First Day at School. I gave the student Roger McGough's poem of that title as a springboard:
First Day at School
A millionbillionwillion miles from home
Waiting for the bell to go. (To go where?)
Why are they all so big, other children?
So noisy? So much at home they
Must have been born in uniform
Lived all their lives in playgrounds
Spent the years inventing games
That don't let me in. Games
That are rough, that swallow you up.
And the railings.
All around, the railings.
Are they to keep out wolves and monsters?
Things that carry off and eat children?
Things you don't take sweets from?
Perhaps they're to stop us getting out
Running away from the lessins. Lessin.
What does a lessin look like?
Sounds small and slimy.
They keep them in the glassrooms.
Whole rooms made out of glass. Imagine.
I wish I could remember my name
Mummy said it would come in useful.
Like wellies. When there's puddles.
Yellowwellies. I wish she was here.
I think my name is sewn on somewhere
Perhaps the teacher will read it for me.
Tea-cher. The one who makes the tea.
Jessica's poem is as follows:
Miles away from home,
What is there for me to come?
Bus after bus,
Child after child,
Bell after bell.
I’m finally here.
The moment I’ve been waiting for all my life,
Without any fright I step into the big light.
People so big and so small,
It just makes me feel tall.
A bell goes,
I’m ready to start.
A journey ends and another begins.
As I step into the classroom,
I feel so alive,
I’m surprised I can’t hear myself cry.
The teacher steps into the room full of happiness.
She steps into the classroom with white shoes,
Wearing a dress to impress.
This is my day, to open doors.
Teenagers' poems are like condensed diaries. I hope Jessica doesn't lose this record of her talent. A day may come when she looks back at her past skill, and wonders at it: 'I don't believe I wrote that. I couldn't do it now'. On the other hand, who knows? the poetry may continue to flow, and go successfully on ...