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A Message for 3-18 year-olds (& parents and teachers)

August 24, 2016

Time flies and, before we know it, Britain’s National Poetry Day will be here on Thursday 6th October. This year it’s all about MESSAGES – from or to anyone or anything. What a fabulous wide range of ideas this theme offers!

If you like writing poems, you might want to enter this competition on Roger Stevens’s Poetry Zone. You must be aged between 3 and 18 years old to enter. Poems MUST be your own work. All the poems entered will be shown in The Poetry Zone as they come in. The winners will be announced early in November. The competition closes on October 22nd, 2016.  Good luck!

Over the years poets have often written poems that are messages, or poems in the form of a letter, or in a poem that is called an ‘ode’ – a kind of message, where the poet addresses (talks to) someone or something.

Celia Warren's Anthologies
There are some wonderful poems with messages among the 100 poems in the Schofield and Sims anthology, A Time to Speak and A Time to Listen (isbn 978 07217 1206 2). Look them up and read them to find the answers to these questions:

What happened when a note was passed round a class during a lesson?
The Note – Jill Townsend (poem #74)

Some messages are carved in stone to speak to future generations. But how long do they last?
The Children and Sir Nameless – Thomas Hardy (poem #46)

Here’s a trickier question that has many possible answers: what was written on this note and why was it crumpled and thrown in the fire?
What Has Happened to Lulu? – Charles Causley (poem #27)

Sometimes ‘actions speak louder than words’. What message do these actions convey?
Necklace – Chrissie Gittins (poem #20)

This poet believed in life after death. Who is he talking to?
Death Be Not Proud – John Donne (poem #5)

Was it the same person who carried this message?
A Final Appointment – Eric Finney (poem #4)

Here are more poems from The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife Poetry (isbn 978 1 4081 3118 3) that answer the following questions – they’re beautifully illustrated, too, mostly by members of the Royal Society of Wildlife Artists:

Who is Fly writing to?
Bee I’m Expecting You – by Emily Dickson (page 111)

What message do migrating birds receive that tells them to fly south for the winter?
Something Told the Wild Geese – Rachel Field (page 145)

What is the message for young children in this poem?
Bedtime – Thomas Hood (page 137)

Is it pretty clear what the message is here?
Don’t Tread on Worms – Eric Finney (page 106)

What do these two odes have in common?
To the Cuckoo – William Wordsworth (page 93) & To a Skylark (page 87)

If your school is buying the Schofield and Sims Anthology, A Time to Speak and A Time to Listen, click here to see how you can buy it at a special price for the Hardback edition. You can also read reviews of the book here.

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