National Poetry Day 2023 at Norwich High School for Girls

Posted on 10th November 2023

National Poetry Day was on Thursday 6th October and this year’s theme was Refuge.

The English Department at Norwich High School for Girls ran a series of National Poetry Day activities across the Senior School including a lunchtime poetry workshop and a dedicated Google Classroom for poetry to be shared, and for original poetry to be posted.

“National Poetry Day is an opportunity to come together to share voices, words and stories and creatively embrace poetry and a love of language in an accessible and inclusive way. In our Key Stage 3 lessons, we focussed on some poems for analysis, building towards our own writing. There was a selection of poems on the Refuge theme around the school on the day. We were really impressed with the quality of work shared by students.”

Head of English at Norwich High School for Girls, Ms Tracy Rogers

Well done to two Year 7 students, Clara and Zara, who entered their original poems into the national under 11 competition for this year’s National Poetry Day. We wish them all the best in the competition!

The piano by the lake. By Clara Griffin

In a harsh new world, we had only one retreat
The lake
Our secret lake, in the forest
Far from the city
Far from all the noise

Every Saturday we’d cycle the five miles to the lake
But it was worth it
We’d swim, laugh and play games, just like we did in the Before.

It was a sparkling January when I found it by the lake
A battered old piano, lying hopeless
I told Mama we were going to fix it, restore its voice

Through the move, the stress
There was always the piano,
The piano by the lake

We held a concert, when the piano by the lake was repaired
My audience was friendly, but it wasn’t like the Before
In the Before, I was known
In the Before, I made huge audiences cheer
But this was special, I was playing the piano by the lake.

As I touched the first notes, I was transported home.
To my lost friends
My lost family
My lost piano

They came, they took everything
They took people’s lives
People who were innocent
Even their own people.

I crashed back to Earth
Amazingly, I was still playing
But hot tears escaped my eyes

I changed the song

To a song of my own
The last song I composed before they came

Then I remembered
Remembered how it was in the Before
I had hope
But then I remembered
I still have hope
And a piano
And music

Refuge. By Zara Arjun

A tear.
It all started with a tear.

The bitter cold, creeping in.

When none can be found.

Searching for faith,
Searching for a home,
Searching for warmth,
Searching for love,
Searching for refuge.
The search is never ending,
like the bombs,
like the sirens,
like the screams.

How much longer will I search,
to find something that I had, not long ago.
How much more will I cry,
tears of sadness, once consoled.

How much longer, have I to long,
For touch, barely remembered.

A light through the rubble.

A glimmer of hope.
A refuge found in a stranger’s eyes.

We are also pleased to share work from Year 8 student Constance.

Inside, Outside. By Constance Lam

On the inside,
A warm, steaming mug of chamomile tea.
Fluffy, pink bunny slippers.

On the outside,
The indistinct footsteps of the hurried,
Grey, lifeless suits.

On the inside,
The lives of the Coopers and some FRIENDS comfort,
Steaming hot bubble baths run from water-stained taps.

On the outside,
Glaring screens of endless information, waiting to be manually processed
Even the strongest spectacles break inwards.

On the inside,
Long stories engraved in creamy, yellow paper,
Never tire your eyes.

On the outside,
Such things are passed by,
Without a second glance.

On the inside,
One feels safe.
But it is not eternal.

On the outside,
Your successes lay.
But sometimes,
One needs to take refuge.
On the inside.