Inua Ellam's poem, Candy Coated Unicorns And Converse All Stars, is a dark look at the plight of individuals set against violence, both of a domestic and of a general nature. One of the protagonists in the poem has been beaten by her boyfriend. Against this there are images conjured, ranging from environmental degradation through to war.
Hope is offered in the form of dreams ('a candy coated unicorn') and aspiration ('we are powerful beyond measure').
Francesca Beard's poem, Baby Scorpion, deals with transformation and consequence. A baby scorpion crawls from a burning log in front of a couple who are keeping warm by the fire. At first the girl feels pity for the small creature's vulnerability but then imagines it as a grown scorpion and the danger it would pose.
Her lover kills it but it appears again, to rise as a ghost. The poem would appear to end with the death of the two lovers, and of the fire itself. Everything is consumed.
Sinéad Morrissey's poem, Genetics, gives us a wistful recollection of the poet as a celebration of the coming together of her parents. The key line in the poem – repeated at the beginning and the end of the poem – is I know my parents made me by my hands (which appears in the plural as the final line of the poem).
From the poem we understand that her parents are no longer together – repelled to separate lands – but that she, the daughter, can celebrate their marriage by her e
Gillian Clarke's poem, Lament, is an elegy, an expression of grief. It can be a sad, military tune played on a bugle. The poem uses the title as the start of a list of lamented people, events, creatures and other things hurt in the war. All the details in the poem came from reports in the media.
You can download the student worksheet and teacher’s notes below. You can also listen to the audio and read the transcript.
I like to use this activity to introduce poetry into the classroom and to raise learners' awareness of the beauty and fun to be had with poetry. It can also be used to practise learners' pronunciation.
I chose a poem titled ‘I wish my husband were online'. I chose this as it contains a number of rhyming couplets.