A different kind of poem

Hi all,

So I am an English teacher (which may worry people depending on what you think of my poetry). I work at a Government Selective Secondary School in Australia. A school which ranks towards the top of my state every year. I only say this because it is not uncommon for my students to develop good work individually. Even so, they are not fantastic at collaborative, creative work.

So I tricked them into it.

I read a picture book to my students named Home and Away by John Marsden and Matt Ottley. It is a fantastic book, focused around the refugee crisis and how it is being handled by the Australian government. It reverses the roles, as if the war had come to us.

After reading this book (and almost crying in front of my class) I asked them to write a ten line poem, which reflected the themes and concepts in the books.

Some of them were phenomenal.

They are not here.

What I am posting is the product of a number of them choosing their favourite line from the text and writing it on the board. I have added the punctuation, but the rest is all theirs.


Home and Away

We’re a normal family,
Colours of life,
But nothing seems to last.
It cost us everything, no knowledge of how much.
Normalcy meant nothing anymore,
And now, it’s all a dream.
Whatever it takes to keep us together,
Taken away in the blink of an eye,
And life ends, Death starts,
Convinced that we were bad.
Two photographs found, inseparable in the hand.
And now we’re stuck.
I miss the old times,
Yet pain and death still follows.


A little clumsy at times, but for a randomly assembled poem, pretty amazing in my opinion. Below is a picture of the whiteboard.