Block 3 experiment with comparative poetry

By Julia Bevan, Teacher of English

My Block 3 students have been practising writing poems using extended metaphors.

In class, we read The Beach by William Hart-Smith, Winter Morning by Roger McGough and In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound to inspire us, observing that none of the poems used full rhyme or a particular rhythm; instead, they’re constructed using one long sentence.

Students then worked together in small teams groups, looking at a range of images – a skiing scene, traffic on a motorway, a mountain top and a red London bus – and coming up with a number of metaphors and similes to describe aspects of the picture (mountain tops as “Stegosaurus spines” in the skiing scene, for example).

Next, they were asked to turn their collective notes into a descriptive sentence that uses at least one metaphor, then turn that into a poem.

With their new skills, students were set the task of taking a photograph and writing a very short poem using comparison. Read some of the finished pieces below:

Coloured Hoops, by Evie Lohr

Coloured Hoops

As a sunset peeking out from behind a cover of clouds,
Spotted colours sit on the giraffe’s coat;
Raindrops of pigment splashing on a backdrop of white.
Black ink sits in hoops
Contrasting the bright colours.

Resist the Urge, by Dylan Hui

Resist the Urge

The bowl of delights, the centrepiece
The jewel in the middle, the colour of magic and joy
Like a magnet, attracting the unsuspecting victim
And sending them down the rabbit hole of eternal edible bliss
Taunting, tempting, until we give in.
The deluge of taste, and texture, sweet and savoury
The bowl of delights has it all!

A Situation Destined to Fail, by Maya Pocock

His arms throb with the pain of yesterday
His feet groan as they crash up and down.
He stands on a pontoon in the middle of a river.

He clasps the ball with his hands.
His legs, like springs, prepare to thrust him of the ground.
He stares at his target.
He prepares for lift off. 

The balls flies through the air like a paper plane.
He watches it and feels as light as a feather.
He wishes he could fly away.

Without a second to breath
The ball crashes down,
It makes a splash.
And reality crashes back.

The boy walks to the side of the pontoon.
He sits down and puts his hand it the water.
He swirls it around.

But the ball is gone.

The Innocence of Nature, by Nell McNaughten

Innocence of Nature

Flowers are like children,
Water them with love and praise,
Give them a compliment
every day,
Be their sun
When there is only rain,
Shelter them from storms
and protect them from pain.
Flowers are like children
they grow every day,
gradually reaching adult-hood
where they slowly drift away.

The Cobra’s Orchid, by Abi O’Donaghue 

Cobra's Orchird

Like a cobra
Trying to seduce its prey,
Hypnotising it with its hood
And its vibrant colouring,
The Orchid is
Mesmerising yet deadly.