Yardstick Poetry Workshop: Cotham Centre


On Friday, June 27, 2013, I conducted a writing workshop with Jamala Safari at the Cotham Centre in Bristol, England. Using Kwame Dawes's "Tornado Child," we talked about the elements of poetry and later I invited the students to write a poem.

Here are a few poems that Lucy Mitchell, a teacher at Cotham tried with her Year 7 (12 year old) students.


Flo Adey-Meadows
I am a waterfall child
I see the future and race to the end
Others look and may pretend.
No matter what they do and feel
I will carry on and somehow heal.
I am a waterfall child.
I may have crashed into the world
I turn to bubbles and gently
Become peaceful but effervescent.
I come with great power

Charlie Keith
I am a sun child
As I move plants glow with energy
From the sun
When I finish my mission I will burn into light.
I will feel like nothing.
All I will know is I am done.
But I have a determination to go.
When I arrive people will rejoice
With their inner light.
My mission is over
Magical times are with us
I AM THE SUN CHILD
I am magical.

Isaac Stone
I am a lightning child
When I am commanded by thunder
I dive bomb the ground
I kill trees
I electrocute fish
I flashed into being and shocked the world
I am a lightning child
When people see me they freak and run.
I am the lightning child.
Amazing.

Masoom Islam
I am an earthquake child
When I was born
My parents named me Shawn
I made the midwife’s hair puff
I was called the hurricane child
My behaviour was mild
My rage is a hurricane
I’m going to Haiti.
An earthquake.
When I arrive mountains will crumble
The sky will fall.

Fatima Hussein
I am a sunny child
The wind was calm
When I first touched my Mum’s palm
When I was born the wind made an unusual sound
I am a sunny child.
I opened my eyes
The wind moved in one direction
When I run the wind runs
I am a sunny child
I am invisible
I walk past and you feel the wind on your face
You see a sparkle
The sun glistens on your head
The sun follows you
I play with the sun
I am awesome

Kaydia Oliver
I am a waterfall child
The fish are plopping
The water is crashing
The colours are bright
Sky and water
I am a waterfall child
I am running to the sea
I am cold in the water
When I go to the sea
I am happy

Sophie Wiggins
I am a volcano child
The roar erupted from the mouth of my mother
The burning pain grew
I am a volcano child
I invade the privacy of pale-faced people although they were expecting me
The fire inside me guides me to my belonging
I tumble down the mountain of my childhood to my flat ground
This will remain constant
I am a volcano child.
You will find me one day.

Maurice Byrne
I am a lightning child
When I was born I flashed my power
Meeting anything that was in my way with a
Façade of light.
The animals fled into the night,
Illuminated with my flashes.
I am a lightning child.
Now I move along
Through the clouds from which I was born
Smiting the people who hurt me,
Setting things on fire.
They see my blinding white then plunge into the darkest night.
I am a lightning child
I will always be here
My foes will be in fear
Feel my presence everywhere
Always poised to strike
People will be glad
Feel secure
Always there when in need
I am present.

Bryony Kay
I am a flower child
I am a river child
Rushing through landscapes
Far and wide
Away from the comfort of Spring
Sprouting from a desolate rock.
I am a river child
Brought on by the storms
Defeating the lightning
The storm settles
So does the current
No longer carrying the weight of the world
On my shoulders
I am free to wander the rushes and waterlillies
I am a river child
I twist and turn
Wherever the wind takes me.



After "Tornado Child" by Kwame Dawes.


Thank you, Lucy Mitchell and the Yardstick Festival, for this opportunity to share my craft and Kwame Dawes's poetry with your students.

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