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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

09 May 2020

Posted by Charlotte Waugh

I didn’t know I’d miss

Group one- 24 in attendance 

Group two- 23 in attendance 

How do you think the objects around us feel about lockdown? This week the Young Writers took a very different stance on this change in circumstance, creating some more amazing lockdown poetry!

Inspired by Kate Clanchy’s young poets and modelled on the poem by Linnet, the group was taken through some initial prompts to get them thinking about the often overlooked inanimate objects in their houses. The Young Writers were then given 10 minutes to go around the house and pick an object that they felt had a story to tell and then were given the following instructions...

Step 1 - Write where you found the object, where did it come from? Describe the place and setting. - e.g the old kitchen timer came from our kitchen junk drawer, the dark cluttered junk drawer.

Step 2- Describe the object, what is it’s size, shape, colour, weight? Utilise your senses.

Step 3- Alter your perspective and describe the object further, you might turn the object inside out, wear a blindfold as you examine it, look at it from a distance.

Step 4- Describe how the object is like you, what do you have in common?-personality traits physical characteristics experiences etc.

Step 5- What does this object mean to you? What does it represent or symbolise? Out of all the objects you could have chosen, why this one?

From these prompts the Young Writers were then asked to write about the lockdown experience from the point of view of this particular object, internalising the potential emotions and thoughts. The pieces were then shared with the group and feedback was given, everything from a Lava lamp to a TV was personified!

Alina created this beautiful poem during the session from the perspective of a clock which we are thrilled to share.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock

I am the giver of time.

Time is on pause, in lockdown!

But I am still swinging my pendulum to the beats of the day.

Through my life, I have seen changing times.

In a Parisian apartment I started life as a child to a childless couple.

I counted the time to the humming of the needle bobbing up an down

under the seamstress' nimble fingers,

awaiting the return of her husband every night.

Day and night, all was quiet til I was brought to my next destination,

a moment later in time....

Tick tac tick tac tick tac, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock!

A life of silence soon became a tumult of laughter and shrieks filling the house,

All day, children would race around me before settling down

for a long night slumber under thick eiderdowns made by granny.

Ha ha ha, ha ha ha! Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock!

Across the sea I came to my current station on the wall,

basking in light, watching the children grow in life and confidence.

But now I am in lockdown, still counting.

Counting the seconds, the minutes the hours and days

of a new working from home routine.

Clic clac, clic clac, clic clac. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock!

And so I will remain counting the seconds, minutes, hours, days and nights.

Until we resume our life of normality.

I am the watcher, the giver of time.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

Alina Leoni

Moving on from this exercise we again utilised our senses and reminisced on the minor but impactful things we miss during lockdown. The Young Writers were given the following prompt and asked to write for one minute without putting down their pens.

I didn’t know I’d miss the smells of....

I didn’t know I’d miss the taste of...

I didn’t know I’d miss the sounds of....

I didn’t know I’d miss the touch of....

I didn’t know I’d miss... choose a poignant but original image that creates meaning and that ‘sting’ at the end .

Livvy shared her take on the things she misses most about normality, creating this beautiful poem.

I didn’t know

I didn’t know

I’d miss the smell of:

My best friend’s nose burning amount of after shave,

The stomach churning school lunches,

The sweat after we had to do extra laps when someone didn’t behave,

I didn’t know 

I’d miss the taste of:

Sandwiches a few days old,

Extra minty gum from one of my friends,

The random snacks from my mate even though they’re now cold,

I didn’t know 

I’d miss the sound of:

Busy, packed corridors,

Out of control giggles created by a terrible joke,

The shout of a teacher for doing something bad once more,

I didn't know

I’d miss the touch of:

Arms being wrapped around me in moments of need,

The hard crusty paintbrushes no longer usable,

The broken piano key, sharp enough to make bleed,

I didn’t know

I’d miss the sight of:

Teacher’s unreadable writing,

Friend’s warm faces,

Or just anything exciting,

I didn’t realise

I’d miss my friends as much as I do,

Their laughter,

Their happiness,

Their anger,

Their sadness, 

I didn’t realise,

I’d miss them as much as I do,

I just hope they miss me too.


The second group stuck with a similar theme but created a unique spin on a

‘Lockdown diary’, inspired by Helen Shaddock. The writers separated their feelings based on days passed since lockdown, in a similar style to ‘On the fifth Day’, a poem by Jane Hirshfield. Aisha Borja’s complete poem from Kate Clanchys workshop was shown as an example,and again these emotive and poignant poems were shared with the group and feedback was given.

Reminder that the Lockdown Competition is still open for entries, full details are available in the previous blog post! 

Until next week, stay safe and keep writing. 


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