A poem all students will love ...

Witchy says: "The teacher will give students hand-outs of the text and they will read and enjoy it silently. Then the reading and writing activities will start, as usual".

I’m alone on a desert beach
the icy winter sea touches my bare feet
and runs away in haste
sand grains stick on my ankles
I raise my eyes to see the skyline:
low misty clouds mess up the horizon with the sea
but my forehead burns
as if under a summer burning sun.
Mixed contradictory feelings and emotions
seem to find their home in my belly.

Isn’t it the centre of the universe, after all?
Or is it only the navel of *my* universe?
I listen to the silence…
a disturbing disquieting silence

No bird singing
No child crying
No breeze whispering

Is it "the day after"? Or is it just another ordinary day?
What’s this song interrupting
this silence of death?
It sounds like a woman’s voice
and it comes from that wood
on top of the hill
I’ve never seen that wood
and never heard that song before…
The voice is calling me
Is asking me to take the winding path
leading to the wood
Is begging me to enter the wood
It’s getting as plaintive as an abandoned child’s cry
I can’t move
I have a huge motorbike in my guts
which I want to start
But I can’t
A big motionless useless engine

A tear drops from my eyes
Runs down my face
Falls on the ground
and disappears into the sand
without a noise
I can’t move

How many tears will I cry
before being able to enter the wood?

Witchy whispers in the teacher's ear: "Believe it or not, this poem was written by a student of mine at the end of an experiment of guided visualization.

(If you want to know more technical details about guided visualizations, wait until I put up an article on the *desolate* NLP section which has been waiting too long for an upgrading....)

Meanwhile, we can use the poem as a basis for text analysis and language activities! After all the feelings described by the boy are much closer to teenagers' inner world than Boccaccio's Decameron, aren't they?"

Exciting activities for students who like poems!!!
In the first stanza the boy describes two landscapes: one is in movement and the other is still, almost motionless. Can you find the words relating to these two worlds?

dynamic nature static nature
adjectives nouns verbs adjectives nouns verbs
deserted beach   disturbing    
ice winter sea touches disquieting silence  
  haste runs away      

Crucial questions:

  1. First difficult question: Is the contrast in the surrounding nature or in the boy's soul?
  2. Do you know the meaning of the expression "the day after"?
  3. What element breaks the silence?
  4. Where does it come from?
  5. Is it easy to reach that voice? How does the boy describe the road to it?
  6. Is it easy for the boy to get near the woman?
  7. Is it easy to ignore the voice? What metaphor does he use to describe the voice?
  8. What image describes his incapacity to move further?
  9. A tear runs through the boy's face. Why is it silent? Who should hear it but doesn't?
  10. What does "being able to enter the wood" mean?
  11. What does it mean to you?

Witchy's tips for the teacher:
A guided visualization:
Witchy says: "A teacher can lead the students into a guided visuaization even if they are not therapists since the technique is not intrusive. They read the following text to students, using a very deep soft tone. Don't worry: there's no attempt at hypnotizing innocent young people; guided visualizations can only make them feel a bit calmer, which is not a bad thing in a classroom, isn't it? ;-) "

The guided visualization text:
Close your eyes, sit comfortably, breathe deeply and relax!
Now you are not in this room anymore. You are walking alone on a beach... what do you see around? Is it a familiar beach or just one you saw on postcards and tourist brochures? What colour is the sand: golden, white, ash grey? What colour is the sky: blue, grey or turquoise? What colour is the sea?

Now I'm asking you to describe the sounds: Can you hear birds singing? Children playing? Adults fighting? Or do you hear the sound of the waves splashing against the rocks? Or do they break silently on the sand?

Now think about what you're feeling inside: Are you completely relaxed? Breathe deeply and relax if you are not, and then describe your sensations. Close your eyes for two minutes: has the landscape in your mind changed meanwhile? Now you're realizing that, deeply inside yourself, you have been waiting for a special person. Has this person arrived by now? What is he or she saying to you? How do you reply?

Close your eyes again when this person whispers something to you in your ears. Feel the taste of these words under your eyelids, in your belly, under your skin. Open your eyes again: the person has left and you feel relaxed and happy in this room... because you know that this person will come again each time you need him (or her).

Wichy's footnote for students: You have just had a guided visualization! It is a very effective way to get into a light trance state and find inspiration and tranquillity. You can use it as often as you need it, provided you don't fall asleep during Maths classes!!

Creative writing activityfor students: Now use your inspiration to make a summary of what you saw, heard and felt during that *voyage*. Of course, you can leave aside all the details you don't want your teacher and school friends to know!!!

Love from

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