Posted by: Poems For Fun | May 17, 2012

The music of poetry

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Welcome to my new blog!

I may move it elsewhere, but it’s sitting here for now.  Here’s my first entry:

The music of poetry.

School children are wonderfully welcoming hosts, as I find on my workshop visits, but they tend to turn pale and back off at the word ‘poetry’.

“I’m not very good at poetry,” a little boy warned me anxiously the other day. His friend had already sloped off, pulling a face at the prospect of it, and the rest of my followers, who’d been blithely pinning back double doors for me and steering my guitar through the corridors, stood gaping.

But five minutes into the session, when I called for ‘describing words’ to fit into a song, all angst was transferred to the possibility of not being chosen to contribute. The song had accompanying guitar chords and a tambourine beat (thanks to a helpful teacher!), to which they were all gently rocking, eyes glazing over dreamily.

The song was about a summer’s day sea, and the words they produced were wonderful. When I put the guitar down and asked for more words, some of the children sang them, several carrying on into extended similes, and it was such a small step from there to the writing, they seemed to scarcely notice.

At ‘reading out time’ , out at the front of the class, the boy who’d thought he couldn’t ‘do’ poetry swayed to the tune of his chosen line, sliding it deftly between those of his classmates and begging to be allowed to read an extra one.

Adults are the same. I read a bunch of poems to an over 60s club last week and, like those children, I sensed a little apprehension behind their welcome. But half way through, I noticed a couple of tapping feet and a swaying shin or two – and that was between poems! They’d found a tune to follow – whatever its ups and downs and pauses: they were fine.

It’s observations like these that convince me that the place for poetry is off the page, rather than on it –  for some of us anyway.

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