Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Song of Winter

The cold weather is coming! So, here's an idea for teachers. (Or you might try your own version.)  Wrap up warm. Take children outside to record their impressions of all they see, hear, feel etc... Back inside write down as many winter-related words, ideas, phrases that they can. Give them just five minutes to do this! Work fast. Then write the first draft from winter's point of view. Each line starts... I am... Finally shape the lines, and order them, into a poem. My example is below. (My poem rhymes - but theirs/yours doesn't have to.) Good luck. 

I Am the Song of Winter
Roger Stevens

I am the beard of icicles
That hang beneath the eaves

I am the rock-hard mud
The frosty crunch of frozen leaves

I am the chilly wind that searches out
The cracks around the door

I am the wet scarf on the radiator
The puddle on the floor

I am the bustling of the birds
The seeds thrown in the snow

I’m the blue tit on the bacon rind
The patience of the crow

I am trees drawn with a fine black nib
Against a troubled sky

I am a pensioner. All alone
As another day creeps by

I’m the awesome silence
When the final snowflake’s fallen

I am the halo round the moon
The dark the day has stolen

Yes, I’m the gloomy afternoon
The leeching of the light

I am the growling, howling song
The wind sings in the night

Sometimes I’m hot buttered toast
As the snowstorm roars outside

But sometimes I’m untimely death
And the feeling hope has died

Monday, 23 January 2012

A Metaphor Speaks for Itself

by Celia Warren

Well, a metaphor doesn't literally speak for itself, as it has no voice. To say a metaphor speaks for itself is personification, a particular type of metaphor, where an inanimate object displays human characteristics; in this case the power of speech.

Power is the operative word. It is why we so often use figurative language: it makes what we have to say more powerful. The image becomes stronger, more memorable and has greater impact on the reader. For example, I could say that I put my hands in my pockets. I could say that I clenched my fists inside my pockets. Or I could say (as I did in my popular poem, Left Out) “My hands are rocks in my pocket”. The metaphor adds weight to the image I'm creating.

Sometimes, when you are writing a poem, it is fun to experiment with an extended metaphor. That is where the imagery continues along a theme. Let's have a go at creating a short descriptive poem using an extended metaphor. We'll start with something simple:

The moon is a round cheese.

Now we'll explore that cheesy image further. Where is the moon? (in the night sky) Where is the cheese? (on a plate). Okay, let's try:

The moon is a round cheese
on a deep blue plate.

Can we say a bit more about the moon?

The moon is a round cheese
on a deep blue plate
that twinkles with grated crumbs.

Hmm. Well, it's not a great poem (more a grated one), but it's a start. Why don't you create your own metaphor for the moon and play around with developing an extended metaphor? Share your poems with us, if you like.