It’s Poetry Friday and I am so glad to be posting for the second Friday in a row, following a big break. This week I was lucky enough to travel to Sydney, and to visit a wonderful school called St John Vianney’s in the suburb of Doonside.
I was there to work with two wonderful year 5 classes, and we spent much of the day reading, writing and talking about poetry. The aim was to get them to have at least one poem drafted by the end of the day. But – amazingly – nearly every child had three poems drafted or started, and every child had two whole poems drafted. That is amazing work and left me filled with joy.
So today I thought I’d share one of my poems which I shared with the children in Doonside. I wanted to model how a free verse poem can be used to explore all kinds of topics, and to see how voice can dictate what we ‘see’ in a poem, but also how it is up to the reader to interact, and it is the reader’s experience of the poem whcih ultimately determines the poem’s reception.
I chose this poem to use, with others, because when I wrote it I thought it was a bit-of-fun poem, but one of my university colleagues, when she read it, saw it as sad because of what it says about a child fearing their parent. She wasn’t wrong, and neither was I: every reader should be allowed to have their own response to what they read. This is an important lesson for poets to learn, whether they be in year 5 or hold a doctorate in poetry.
Amway, here’s the poem. I’d love to hear your response.
From the ball of fluff under your bed
I mean you no harm.
I did not even mean to be here,
brought into simple existence
by your refusal to keep
this part of your bedroom tidy.
Yet here I am,
lurking behind five odd socks
last week’s homework
and a mouldy apple core
(which I wish you’d remove).
I will not transform into a monster
and scare you witless
or drink your blood
or mutter and moan .
No, at midnight –
and at every other hour,
come to think of it –
I will continue to be
just a ball of fluff.
But heed this warning:
even a humble ball of fluff
knows that the time is coming
when you will shake with fear.
Yes – one day,
one day soon
(perhaps lured by the smell of that apple core)
will lift the edge of your bedspread
the apple core
And then there will be trouble.
(Poem Copyright Sally Murphy)
Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales. Brenda’s contribution is absolutely wonderful – and you might see, as you read it, that I was amazed we had both chosen unusual voices or narrators for our poems. Head over there to see what other poetry goodness is being shared in the blogosphere. Have a great Friday and a great week to come.