I hate that poem, not because it’s boring
And not because the words are dulled with age,
I don’t hate it because it doesn’t resonate,
I don’t hate it just because it’s poetry.
And yet I hate it with a passion,
I wrestle with those jarring words
That pierce through skin and prick the eyes
With acid tears, the pain I hold back
Every day comes spilling out in tidal waves.
I am doing a team teach on Monday with the Deputy Head at our school. She is an English teacher and I look up to her as a role model and mentor.
So I went to her office today and we planned the lesson together. I told her that we were doing the poem ‘Poppies’ by Jane Wier, and her first reaction was ‘oh, I hate that poem’. I was so surprised because I had read through the poem and loved it.
She then went on to say that she disliked it so much because she has a young son and she finds the themes in the poem too painful. I was glad that she cleared that up and her reason made me like her all the more.
I try to get my students to see that poetry has that kind of power but it’s so hard to do this with young people. I guess a lot of it is down to the fact that they haven’t had the life experiences that us grown ups have had. But it breaks my heart that some students just don’t like it because they ‘don’t get it’.
I feel a little bit sorry for them.