On Tuesday 14 November, 5th Form pupils Kirsty A and Sumayyah A, 4th Form Karol M, 3rd Form Harriett C, Isla J and Nathanael W and 2nd Form Lydia S, visited Goodwins Hall care home in King’s Lynn.
As part of their entry into the National Poetry Together Collaboration, the pupils spent 90 minutes with residents discussing their ideas on what makes us happy and the idea of happiness. The pupils were an absolute credit to the School community and listened intently to the stories from Ann, Barry, Antony, Sylvia and Mary to name but a few. Such was their genuine bond, the School will try to remain in contact and hope to plan further visits to the home.
Following the submission of all poems to the competition on 24 November, the competition organisers notified the School in January that we had been chosen as one of its prize winners. Nathanael Wilson’s poem ‘Considering Springtime’ also received a special mention. As a prize-winning entry, WGS was awarded £250 in book vouchers, which was split between the School and our participating pupils. This accomplishment is particularly noteworthy considering the competition had over 400 entries from other schools nationwide.
The Poetry Together competition encourages collaboration between young individuals from schools and clubs and the older generation in their local communities, including care homes. The concept revolves around people coming together to share and perform poems while enjoying tea and cake. Eligibility criteria specifies that pupils must be under 18 and the elderly over 70. The task of the competition was to create a poem centered around the theme of ‘happiness’ or a theme learned by heart.
As part of its prizes, the competition offers an opportunity to showcase poems on ITV’s This Morning, the publication of written poems in the Poetry Together Anthology, with copies preserved in both the Royal Library and British Library, or £250 worth of books for the school library. The competition received widespread participation, making WGS’s success truly commendable.
Considering Springtime – by Nathanael W – Special Mention Award
A carpet of blazing bluebells, bright hoods
Bobbing, buoyant above the spinner’s silver
Morning loom, the beaded breath of dogwoods
Boughs shines afore the fresh coats of chilvers
Close cropped, the grass grows alongside the lambs
Ushered ‘neath the verge of fresh roses by
The ever present, watchful ewe’s eye.
Atop the slope moor of heather and gorse
The ridge line of beechwood, winding branches
Burst and bloom with glaucous green, sprouting coarse
Dawn’s growth and shoots of youthful life, blanches
At the hint of frosty winter wind, yet
Spring’s jovial germination clings on, roots
Steadfast and everlasting, joy its fruit.
From one Generation to Another – by Karol M
Joy skips and rings between the tips of my fingers
And the tender inside of my palms.
It bounds when you focus upon my lowered brow and contoured eye,
When I look into yours, I see a fawn.
To the calloused tips of my silver hair,
And vibrancy you still yield,
I’m sure it fills you, too.
I know you can remember the way the water fell,
Or the clatter of your home – its clang.
The shredding noise of a bike bell, dashing figures.
I pass it to you, rusted.
You hold it, thumping and warm.
It fills you, too.
In conversation with Mary and Pat – by Kirsty A
Come in. Sit down. Let us roll the tapes, my love.
The day we met plays like a broken record in my mind.
It’s 1965; you sat before me; head split open,
My hands gently stitching up your pain, mending your heart.
Four years down the line, I am stitching the rip in our son’s ‘Sunday Best’.
Two years later, we mourn his death,
and it becomes just you and I.
But rejoice, my gentle dove.
For our god has granted us another chance, and this time we shan’t fail.
We can’t fail. But we do. And we fall.
This time it is you stitching my head, mending my heart.
He is still gone.
But our remembrance is eternal.
Our memory of him, his deep blue eyes mirroring yours, my love. Our memory of him is truly joyous.
Written alongside, and in conversation with, Pat and Mary and recollections of their children.
Mawtini – by Sumayyah A
You say ‘happy’,
I could see
Through your beautiful brown eyes.
Mine are blue.
Blue like the watercolour skies.
A painted postcard is that memory
Of the True North Strong and Free.
Where the leaves don’t die in the fall,
They thrive. They call
It the land of the unknown.
If only I had the legs
To bring me back home.
Written alongside Cathleen, both Sumayyah and Cathleen lived in Canada.
Happiness – by Lydia S
Is it cake? [Fruit cake with extra booze] -Cathleen.
Or family? [My sassy granddaughter Elsie] -Sylvia.
Bird spotting or gardening? [Beautiful roses] -Ann.
Is it art? [Drawing, painting and scratch] -Antony.
Sport? [Watching football, King’s Lynn FC] -Barry.
Socialising or making friends? [Lifelong friendship from when we were 8] -Eve.
Is it kindness? [Foster-caring many children] -Mary.
It is all, but none of these,
Happiness varies for all, you see.
And although we don’t like to say,
Little things make us happier than we display.
Embrace that feeling that makes your day,
For life is too short to remember dismay.
A Wartime Childhood – by Harriett C
Dogs barking playfully across the coastlines,
People’s laughter echoing around,
Waves viciously striking the beach,
Escaping the danger of the vast ocean.
Darting through the fields with friends,
Picnics full of happiness and joy,
Roaming free in the countryside, until the day closes,
To flee the realities of war.
Working on a farm, surrounded by friends,
Meeting new individuals, forever remembered,
Making lifelong bonds and memories to last,
Bringing happiness to all those around.
Childhood is such a unique notion to everyone,
It can be different for everyone, yet is never forgotten.
Happiness – by Isla J
Happiness, the key to a heart.
As small as a great-granddaughter, Elsie, who has sass.
Nephews, who visit when needed most.
Happiness, the bond of two people, or many.
Friendship, new and old, near and far. Abroad, like Cathleen, or when Sheila became a champion in Australia. Socialising, or not, sitting in the warmth of company.
Happiness, twinkling like fairy lights on a Christmas tree.
Presents around the versatile evergreen, bought months in advance.
Christmas dinner – turkey and roast potatoes, and for dessert, fruit cake with extra booze.
Happiness, the glow of many colours streaming through a stained-glass window.
York Minster with the Rose Window or, Ely Cathedral, with its gothic arches and tall ceilings.
Even the local church, with its Sunday Services.
The same church, facing the same direction, but there will always be something different.
Written alongside, and in conversation with, the memories of Barry, Antony and Sylvia.