The year was 1984 and I was in year four at Primary School. I was ten. Mr Shearer was my class teacher, but the day Miss Wise walked into our class room, my life was changed for ever. She started teaching us the magic of words.
And so a love affair was born between myself and the almighty pen.
The first thing I remember Miss Wise teaching us was poetry. In fact, it had such an impact on me that it’s been engraved into my brain. She was talking about rhyming words and how they can be used to create a thing called a poem. Miss Wise showed us on the chalkboard (yea I know, it shows my age) how one was written and then asked us to write our own poem.
It was so fascinating. Using words to tell a story in a rhythm which rhymed excited me. I remember wanting to write the best poem out of everyone, and then writing my first ever poem (which will be at the end of this blog). When it came to showing Mr Shearer and Miss Wise my creation, I felt proud. I remember hearing some of the comments Mr Shearer made in relation to other classmate’s poems, and excitedly waiting to show both teachers my poem, confident I had done a better job than everyone else and eager to hear what they thought. Now, I don’t know if my poem was indeed the best in the class or not. As far as I can recall, it wasn’t actually marked. However, their response spurred in me a passion for poetry, leading me to create a tally of 256 poems to date. Some are good and some are bad and some are great, but they are all my creations which have helped me to this day, to develop my own style.
I laugh now, but at the time of writing my very first poem, I was serious. Twenty-five years old seemed so very far away. It felt like the distance between me and then was an eternity. It was like the age distance between my mere ten years and twenty-five was as far away as my Nanna’s age was from me – OLD!
So, I’m standing there, holding my poem “The Moon” and itching to show Miss Wise and Mr Shearer how clever I was in writing it. Eventually, I got the chance to hand it to them. I was nervous as they read it. I remember them having a little chuckle before looking up to give me their verdict. Mr Shearer made a comment along the lines of “You’ll wanna hope you’re alive at twenty-five” with a smile on his face, and then proceeded to tell me……….it was very well written! Miss Wise said I had totally understood what she had taught us with the rhyming and told me to keep up the good work.
I was so excited that they liked it and from that day onward, I had a new way of expressing myself. Also, I was a little anxious until I had reached my twenty-fifth birthday, in case my poem was proved wrong.
If you were to ready my poetry book, it would almost read like a diary because a lot of them reflect what I was thinking and feeling at the time. Some are multiple attempts at trying to express accurately what was going on inside me or around me. I just kept on writing about it until one of them hit the point I was trying to make. Even though most of them I would not be able to recite to you, when I flick through my poetry book from time to time, It’s amazing to think that I can remember writing every single one and why I wrote it.
It is with pride that I introduce to you my very first poem, its premiere to the world!
I can see the moon at night.
Isn’t it a beautiful sight?
The moon is cold everywhere.
Even over here and there.
There are all kinds of ways to the moon
And I will be going there very soon.
I will be taking some things in my pocket
And we will go off in our rocket.
When I am twenty-five,
I will still be alive.
Written by Allison Rose Clark, 1984, aged 10 (first ever poem)