By Lucy McIlwraith, Teacher of English
I’m delighted to be able to open up this competition to anyone in the Bedales community. I’ve already launched it with students but I’m sure there are parents, teachers and Old Bedalians who would love to try writing on this subject. The winning poem or poems will be used as readings in the school carol service this year.
During our carol service we use a mixture of Biblical and secular readings to help reflect on the ideas raised by the Christmas story. As we are a non-denominational school, welcoming students of all faiths and none, we try to have inclusive readings which address the themes in a way that is accessible to all. We have used poetry by poets such as Levertov, Yeats, Rossetti, Bridges and Betjeman in the past, as well as poems written by Bedales English teachers.
It would be wonderful to include work by others in the Bedales community and so we invite you to send your own poetry or short-form prose to me, Lucy McIlwraith, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some ideas to help inspire you:
You can read the Biblical readings here and write something with parallel themes or a modern version.
You might like to write a meditation about the themes of Christmas in general.
You might like to focus on one of the following themes: The prophecies: You might like to write about a future we would like to look forward to. You might like to write about a vision of utopia or something our world community should work towards. Hope for the future.
- The annunciation: Many parents find this a fruitful subject to write about – the hope, joy, expectancy and uncertainty of a new child. You can read my version of this here. You might like to write from a different point of view.
- The birth of Jesus: You might like to re-tell the Bible story or write about the birth of a child of less divine origins. You might like to write about the birth of an idea or new way of seeing the world.
- The shepherds and the kings hearing the good news: A more modern version of this might be based on the idea of publicising a great idea or sharing a wonderful piece of news with people from all backgrounds.
I hope to have the readings for this year’s service finalised at the end of November, so please send any entries for the competition before 30 November. However, if you find that you are still crafting an exquisite piece of poetry after that point, do send it once it’s ready and I can consider using it for next year’s service!
If you’d like some poetic inspiration, do book to see Old Bedalian Esme Allman on 25 November in the Olivier Theatre in Bedales – tickets are available here.
You might also like to book tickets for the Carol Service on 13 December as the church is small and tickets sell out fast! Book tickets here.