At present I'm busy turning a long narrative poem I wrote for teenagers (apparently, they don't read long narrative poems) into something else.....a balloon perhaps? In the process, I really hope I'm improving it, just as I feel I did add much to the play as it gradually became a story, not least a sense of hope at the end where there was utter despair.
I believe I grew up in a fairly progressive household. After my parents separated, I lived with my mother in a small village. She was an expert at recycling the bricks we 'liberated' at night from the nearby builder's yard and our long garden path was made from them. Also, we always had many exotic plants in our garden, courtesy of the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge. My mother would recycle these with much aplomb. Above all, I recall the early days of plastic, sandwich bags and how she'd wash them out and hang them on the line to dry like small, transparent sails. She was very advanced, but also (having spent most of her life as a 'Cardi') adept at penny-pinching.
All this brings me to the project I've been involved in all this week. I've been visiting Primary Schools in the Pontypridd area as part of the Envirovision scheme.
My role was to get the Year 5 pupils to make up song lyrics and next week they'll be putting them to music. Hopefully, they'll be able to adapt the words to different forms, such as rap and R & B. I began with the idea of products made from recycled materials, but soon found that inventing their own Superhero was a better idea, especially when they drew it first, with all his/her/its special powers.
I wrote two poems especially for the workshops, but the second was to provide the stimulus. Some writers don't like working with younger pupils and I can understand that if they aren't used to it. However, with a 10 year-old daughter (whose pencil-case made from old tyres I nabbed to demonstrate) I was used to their 'level' and found the children very enthusiastic and imaginative.
It would be great to hear the results of their words put to music and it may all be the start of a future Tom Waits or Thea Gilmore. Below is the poem I wrote, complete with 60's hippiedom in its finale.
Recyclo Ms. & Recyclo Man
Here he comes
with his arms of cans –
he’s the one and only
Here she comes
her body’s food waste –
she’s the one and only
If they could get together
they’d make a great pair -
putting the world to right,
no need for landfill sites.
He’s got bottle-top eyes,
she’s got food-carton feet –
both are full of energy
with the plastic bags they eat.
No smoke to choke,
no water full of cack –
one day flowers will grow from their palms
with the love of Recyclo Ms. and Man.