Employing Poetry To Make Emotional Connections To The Surrounding World

Young poets can be assisted to make broader connection with the world around them. They can seek an emotional attachment to their surroundings and find common ground to other entities.We are not separate from the world that surrounds us. If you look closely you will see part of yourself in everything else.

Who are you at this moment?

Right now!

Who are you when you take off your mask? 

I began this lesson by playing a song by the Swedish group, ‘Oh Laura.’ I first heard it used as a soundtrack to a car advertisement. I initially asked the class (Year 7) just to listen to the words, because we not only write with our eyes, we write with our ears.

I played the song a second time and on this occasion I provided these young poets with a copy of the words. I asked them to discuss in their table group, the things they noticed about the writing. They talked of repetition. They mentioned the use of the pronoun ‘I’ and the connection the subject made to the world through the use of comparison.

 Release Me

I am the wilderness locked in a cage
I am a growing force you kept in place
I am a tree reaching for the sun 
Please don't hold me down
Please don't hold me down

I am a rolling wave without the motion
A glass of water longing for the ocean
I am an asphalt flower breaking free but you keep stopping me
Release me
Release me

I am the rain that's coming down on you
That you shielded yourself from with a roof
I am the fire burning desperately but you're controlling me
Release me
Release me

Erik Althoff, Nils Westfelt

I then demonstrated how I used this same approach in writing the poem, ‘I Am Such Things And More.’

I Am Such Things And More

I am the leaf, clinging tenaciously to the tree as winter approaches
The claw of the eagle holding fast to its prey
I am the wind rustling the gum trees
I am the cool breeze at the end of a summer’s day
The cackle of the kookaburra
Laughter floating on the air
And a smile spreading slowly across your face
I am in the thunderous crush of breaking waves
I am lightning illuminating the night sky
The quivering tail of a mad dog
The thud of a axe slicing through a defiant log
I am the patch of sun in the corner of the yard where butterflies dry their wings and lizards laze on rocks
I am the heart of the matter
I am the road winding into the distance and the wilderness track few have travelled
I am the song of the magpie rejoicing in each new morning
The crunchy celery stem and the bubbles in a glass of mineral water
I am a delicate orchid, a hardy oak
I am a plastic container filled with treats
I am the scorpion when aroused
I am a puddle of unknown depth
The kite on the breeze
I am the wondrous words that flow from a new pen
I am the words in a book you can’t put down
I am a comfortable sock
I am firm like new boots
I am the sun on your back
Look for me in such things

Alan j Wright


As a pre-writing exercise I asked them to discuss their possible links to the world around them. I asked such questions as, ‘Who are you when angry, aroused, excited? Who are you when you move about?
Who are you in the morning, afternoon, evening? I got them to list some possible responses as a way of launching their own writing efforts.
We began to share their raw words during the share time at the end of the lesson. I then suggested they put their words away and make an appointment to revisit them the following day. That way they could view them through a clearer lens and polish them. I look forward to revisiting this class to view the reworked poems.

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