I have few memories of being read poetry at school. I remember learning Shakespeare’s ‘Hubble bubble toil and trouble’ in Year 5. We were required to write our own version based on the witches in Macbeth. I also remember being read a poem called ‘It’; also in Year 5. However, I do not recall the author. We had to write our own poem based on this also. The next poem I remember writing was one about a pirate. This was Year 5 homework. I remember my poem off by heart because I loved it!
There was a pirate long ago
With a big, black beard that took years to grow.
He had one eye and an evil grin
And everyone was afraid of him.
No left hand, just a hook
Whatever he wanted he just took.
He was a wicked man with an evil soul
And on his face was a hairy mole.
He reached his end upon the rope
No more to be seen, at least we hope.
Not to be too arrogant, but this is my favourite poem. It has rhyming couplets, alliteration and is excellent to use in lessons. I’m totally biased though. My other favourite poem is Matilda (who told lies and was burned to death) by Hilaire Belloc.
I do not remember studying any more poetry at school until Year 9. We then focused on personification, similes, metaphors and imagery. I studied poetry extensively throughout my GCSE and A-Level years. I loved poetry. When I was 15 I wrote a poem called ‘Heartache’ which was published in a Future Voices Anthology. I spent years writing loads of poems, my favourite ones always rhymed and had hidden meanings.
I think it is important for children to learn poems because it helps them to really think about the language used. I also think it will help them to become better writers themselves.