Slice of Life Story Challenge March 22 --Saturday Reflection On A Week Of Poetry

The Saturday sky wore a decidedly drab grey outfit and surrounded itself with cool air.  It provided no incentive to venture out throughout the day. I did sneak out for a mid morning coffee, but stayed out only briefly. It was an indoors kind of day.

I found myself reflecting upon my week in Adelaide among a host of young poets. My reflections allowed me to better appreciate my five days among these young writers.

They demonstrated how important it is to be brave when it comes to writing. They accepted the challenges I threw their way and many wrote close to the edges. They began to use the language of poetry with greater confidence as our time together grew.

I challenged them to provide their writing buddies, specific feedback that went beyond the usual- ‘I liked it or’ ‘it sounded good’ I asked them to respond to what they saw the writer actually doing. I urged them to inform their partner about what they heard, what they felt (the emotions evoked by the words a fellow poet used). I told them they had a wonderful opportunity to assist another writer to move their writing forward. -To be affirmed as a developing poet!

I demonstrated my responses to their written efforts and again urged them to notice the way I responded, and the kinds of feedback I gave each brave contributor. ‘What did you hear me saying?’ I asked. ‘Why do you believe I responded in that way?’

I set them free to practice effective feedback- and they shone!
As I roamed among them I heard the specifics of their conversations about the writing. Things like:

‘I noticed you used white space to highlight the final lines of your poem.’
‘I heard alliteration when you read your poem.’
‘You used repetition in your poem.’
‘Your poem had a circular ending.’
‘You used a simile to compare the moon to a streetlight.’
‘You used strong verbs.’
‘You made it easy for me to see what was happening in your poem.’
‘Your poem made me feel nervous.’
‘Your poem had a pattern to it.’

Comments like these made my heart sing. These probationary poets understood the importance of giving feedback that focuses on what the writer is attempting to do on the page. These young writers were reading like writers! They were affirming the efforts of their writing partners and at the same time making valuable observations about some of the important ingredients of poetry. They were creating word-pools of their own making. They were earnest and engaged. They were smiling and enthused. They were independent and self directed in their learning. I was over the moon.

It was a grey day outside today. Inside, it felt decidedly more uplifting.

The following poems represent a sample of the work created. These particular poems came about when I whispered the refrain- After dark, after dark, and I invited poetry crew to expand the idea.

After Dark

After dark
After dark
Shadows on my wall dance 
Playing tricks with my eyes
Trees sway,whispering secrets through their leaves
I see the full moon casting eerie lights on my walls
After dark
After dark
The sound of cat fights sends shivers up my spine
The muffled sounds of the television rings in my ears
Howling winds surround my dark room
After dark
After dark
My mind escapes my head and turns dreams into nightmares
The shadows on my walls start to morph
Thoughts pound in my head trying to keep me awake
After dark
After dark


After Dark

After dark
After dark
I notice
The moon shining
The stars glistening
The shadows dancing

After dark
After dark

My ears are hearing
Cats meowing 
Wind howling
Rats squeaking

After dark
After dark

My thoughts are
Who will kill me?
Will I go to sleep/
Are there monsters under my bed


After Dark

After dark
After dark

I see the dancing shadows of the swaying trees
The darkness of the room creeps in
But the moon's soft light keeps the shadows at bay

After dark
After dark

My ears pick up the sound of possums scurrying
The drunken shouts from the nearby pub
But my parents talking keeps them at bay

After dark
After dark

My mind wonders about fear and keeps me awake
I hold myself tight in fright
It is the hope of tomorrow that keeps the nightmares at bay

After dark
After dark


After Dark

After dark, after dark
I see the wall patterns changing shape
And glowing right through my soul
As I try to sleep through the night

After dark, after dark

I listen to the sound of the rats 
Running, eating, playing
Outside the windows of my bedroom

After dark, after dark
I lay with my eyes shut tight
As I think of what has been frightening me
I am unable to sleep

After dark, after dark.



  1. Alan, your young poets are banging on that probationary door. What amazing pieces they have written! Thanks for sharing. You are celebrating them, but I'm thinking that they are celebrating you, as well. Hope tomorrow is a nicer day to venture outside.


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