Miss Sheehan is encouraging Westonbirt students to enter the Young Poets Network competition as part of National Poetry Day. Year 11 students were challenged to write a poem with 'political language' containing George Orwell's Animal Farm as inspiration. You can read some of the current entries below:
'Don't Worry, polar bears can swim' by Olympia, year 11
Let’s make humanity great again, they said,
We’ll strive, succeed,
And work together, all as one,
All you have to do is agree and carry on
Don’t worry when sea levels rise,
We’ll build barriers of plastic of significant size,
Don’t worry polar bears can swim,
They said…and moved on…
How wrong we all were about the qualities that were self-righteous,
That were not going to guide us,
But instead destroy us.
'8 minutes and 46 seconds' by Emily, year 11
Ahmoud Arbery. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor.
Jogging. Shopping. At home.
Three black people, unarmed, harmless,
Living, breathing, in the USA.
White men seeing colour, not crimes,
Carrying guns, to threaten, to shoot, to kill
Without thought, careless and cruel.
Yet, George Floyd, he was not shot.
He had time to beg for mercy
With the white man’s knee on his neck.
Yet he was given none
And died while people watched.
'Just a Human' by Ariella, year 11
The art teacher said to me one day,
Paint, paint away;
So I painted all sorts of colours some brown, some black, some blue,
She said you can create any drawing of your future home, so I drew,
I drew pink trees, black flowers, a green bloom,
But no, it wasn’t a red brick house with three bedrooms and a living room.
The maths teacher said to me one day,
Add, add away;
So I proved all sorts of formulas; some circles, some triangles, some squares,
He said you can solve anything, so I looked at his bank-shares,
I looked at gross income, tax and profit,
But no, I didn’t do algebra, which was catastrophic.
The Doctor said to me on the phone one day,
I can cure you; cure you right away,
So I told her my symptoms, my feelings, my illness,
She said the human body can heal so well, so I said yippee in rather shrillness,
I thought I was going to get better, there was hope,
But no, I went to see her, she looked at me and said my skin was incurable not even with a microscope.
The English lecturer said to me one day,
Write, write away;
So I wrote about war, injustice, conflict,
She said you can write anything, the limit is the world, nothing is perfect,
In a poem I questioned morality, ethics and philosophy,
But no, it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t lies; it was the truth.
The Prime Minister said to me one day,
Think, think away;
So I thought about freedom, liberty and unity,
He said we can do anything as a country; the boundaries are far and wide,
I said “everything is equal”,
But no, we can’t draw anything, look into anything, contemplate anything, or do anything because you are either opinionated, nosy, weak, incapable, rude, judgemental, impure, mad or a show off.
But yes we are a person, a woman, Chinese, a Hindu, a child, a communist, a disabled person, a Muslim, Indian, Christian, British, Buddhist, American, Jewish, German or maybe just…
Just a human.
'Needle and Thread' by Carys, year 11
A character’s complexion is inevitable from creation
Jurisdiction is not available for anyone, so why is it that
A beginning with a needle is preconceived to be
A lifetime of success and felicity
Commencement of survival with a thread
And destiny is fulfilled with terror and dread
Why is it that two objects with such critical qualities
Can cause such confliction and disruption
The fortunate don’t look to help the naïve
By working in harmony in order to succeed
Instead such sectarian behaviour is portrayed
Unfairness and inequality are encouraged to persuade
Not many can visualise a world at one
With the needle and thread working in unison
The needle is strong, but such action can’t be done
With the thread so quiet following along
To create a masterpiece that the needle gets credit
When the thread was the one needing the merit
So, to conclude I cannot but see
That the needle and thread need equality.