National Poetry Day 2017

The following poems about freedom were read and discussed in all lessons throughout National Poetry Day on Thursday 29th September.

Period 1:

Free as the Wind

by Liz Brownlee

It’s slight and likes
to infiltrate
makes supple grasses


it’s heavy and ready
to hurricane
power the storm clouds
splatter the rain


it swirls in the sand
bends barleycorn
dances the flowers’ heads
round the lawn


it flattens the trees
clack-clatters the bins
rat-tatters in dreams
sets leaves into spins


it slivers in houses
to whistle and haunt
makes the bare branches
jazz–hand and jaunt


it batters and scatters
the litter around
grapples the shadows
for space on the ground


it smooths unsmooth stones
whips away words
scattering syllables
dishevelling birds


it cannot be summoned
or seen or confined
as restless as waiting
as careless as time


it gusts from a suddenness
cannot be pinned
for nothing is free as
as free as the wind


Period 2:


by Paul Laurence Dunbar

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!


I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!


I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!


Period 3:

High Flight

by John Gillespie Magee

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…


Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew –
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.


Period 4:


by W. H. Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.


No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.


No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars like skies at night.


No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.


No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.


A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


Period 5:

It Is Everywhere

by Remi Graves

Green leaves. Wind kissed.
Closed palms. Fresh hope.


Deep river. Free flow.
No signs. Open road.


Wide sky. Grow wings.
Feel light. Dream big.


No frame. New eyes.
From dark. Find light.


Hug air. Laugh loud.
Breathe deep. Dance wild.


Smile wide. Shut eyes.
Hold chest. Close mind.


Ask cloud. Ask wind.
Ask earth. Ask field.


How to live free?


Hold on. Let Go.
Give trust. Lend heart.


Fall down. Get up.
Eat fear. Drink hope.