Friday, September 20, 2013

Like Dolmens...

These 'pen portraits' were written by Ms Smith's Fifth Form pupils in response to John Montague's poem 'Like Dolmens Round my Childhood', in which he revives a handful of the figures he grew up with in Tyrone in the 1930s and 40s.

Some fascinating figures emerged from the pupils' memories; here's a small selection of their work, written in the style of Montague's own poem.

'Gaffer' by Charlotte Cooper

Gaffer, mind of a ten year old, crippled body of a ninety-four-year-old.
Gleaming white teeth sparkle behind a distorted glass filled with water,
Always a gappy smile shining while telling us World War Two stories.
Never would you see him, unless accompanied by his Jack Russell, Kanga -
             also crippled.
At every birthday party he would say to the children, 'sing for your cider',
And only when they would he pop the bottle.
Generously he would hand out jelly snakes from the brown paper bag
Much like the one he ordered his ashes to be buried in -
             for the sake of the environment.

'Kia in Kenya' by Wolfe Purcell

Kia Makawezi was always frightening.
The leopard fur bracelets around his ankles never a happy sight.
The bells hanging from his dirty, matted hair warned of his arrival.
The way he glowered made even the jolliest people silent and miserable.
It was like this because he was 'the man before death':
The man who performed last rites.
            He was Kia Makawezi, the witch-doctor.

'Last Time' by Gemma Bewley

A distant cousin yet a familiar face,
Warm and caring, an artist.
Old furniture, sometimes scary and hulking,
A tiger-skin rug sprawled across the floor,
Ornaments watching from every corner of the room.
Last time I saw her, in a home before Christmas.
             Last time I felt her presence, in the church soon after.

'Kerry' by Stephanie Woods

Kerry lived in an isolated house,
Where fields were endless and horses played.
A lonely old farm girl whistling Irish tunes,
A stench of sweat from a hard day's labour,
Telling old folk tales by the fire,
              Until it was time to leave.

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