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30 November -0001

The Gift

A Community Poem

A large group today as we were in the main cafe, and so a writing exercise for everyone. Quick to do, easy to model.

I took a piece of A4 and folded it into quarters. In the first corner I wrote ‘wrapping’, in the second ‘opening’, in the third ‘what is it?’ and in the fourth ‘what do you do with it?’.

The group were instructed to think of a gift, either given, received, or imagined, and then to follow the headings and write about each part of the process.

The example I gave was my first bike. It was hidden behind the long curtains in the back room at my house (wrapping); I whipped the curtains back, and the bright sunlight made me squint (opening); I found a bright orange bike, a racer, and I could smell the oil on the chain (what is it?); I took it outside and rode it up and down the street all day long (what do you do with it?)

After a period of writing time each person had a short piece. We had a read around and chatted about the structure and how this could be turned into a poem. We listened for lines in each other’s work that stood out in some way, discussing why this might be, finding musicality or rhythm, originality and surprise.

We then blended everyone’s work together, discussing how we might unify the idea of a gift and using the four section structure, to write our community poem. 

The Day is a Gift

wrapped in Mickey Mouse paper, pink stripes, Christmas tartan, pretty in pink and purple tissue, a massive bow, red and bright, glittering with silver and gold stars. The day is a loud rapping at the door, labelled with love.

Go outside, use a step ladder to reach the top, pick at the sellotape, careful and methodical, don't spoil the paper. Go outside, tear it up in excitement, open the box, lift the lid.

The day is a beautiful, black horse; a doll dressed up in a nappy; a crystal pendant; a dark blue satin evening dress; matching earrings; a red fluffy jumper; a battery charger; a puppy; spots of shiny powdered sugar; squidgy squares of delight.

Your mouth waters. Throw your arms around the day and say thank-you, wear it around your neck, try it on (it fits perfectly). What are you going to do with this day? The crowd of faces, the hugs, the kisses. Feel good in it, keep it and love it. Jump on its back and take the day for a ride through the forest.


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