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Another Poem

As I've said before here, I've been doing some workshops at the Barbican as part of the Can I Have A Word project and I wrote a poem to go with some photos taken by Henryk Ross in the Lodz Ghetto during the Second World War (here are some of the pictures).

Henryk Ross

Then children from local schools came in and sat with me in the gallery and we talked about the photos, I talked about the poem. I told them the story of Leosia, the poem in 'You Wait Till I'm Older Than You', which is about a distant cousin of mine who survived the Holocaust by denying that she was Jewish and hiding what she thought were diamonds in the heels of her shoes. Together, we acted out tableaux from the photos, did little improvisations based around the idea of police asking who you were and first of all you telling the truth and being taken off to the Ghetto, and then telling lies about yourself (as Leosia did) in order to escape. We collected up on large pieces of paper some ideas from the photos: what people might be saying in the photos; what they might be thinking; what they could see going on; what they could hear. And then we talked about what I called 'Impossible writing'. This meant coming up with ideas about what things that don't speak or think or move might be saying, thinking, doing and hearing. So we talked about 'the pavement crying', or 'the cattle track gobbling up people' or, as one boy said,  'the rain is God's tears'. We wrote these up on a large piece of paper too, so that we now had five resources that we could use to make poems. I thought the children wrote some fantastic pieces and I hope that I'll be able to put some of these up fairly soon. Watch this space. In the meantime, here's the one I wrote before I worked with the children:

Today; One Day

The rain has died
My shoes have died
The sun has died
My coat has died
The earth has died

One day
The rain will flower
My shoes will laugh
The sun will sing
My coat will fly
The earth will dance
One day.

© Michael Rosen





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