This week, we have been learning about author intent and discussing how authorial choice causes different reactions from the reader.
Today, we read the poem 'Refugees' by Brian Bliston:
They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you or me
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves
They are not
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way
Upon first reading the poem, here are some of the children’s responses:
“I am disgusted with the words in this poem.”
“This poem makes me feel uncomfortable because he has a very negative view of Refugees.”
“I think this poem was written by someone who discriminates against people of colour because he is suggesting we prevent people from other counties coming to England.”
“This poem is really shocking. It reminds me of the issues currently happening in Bangladesh.”
The pupils were then told to read the poem backwards. ‘Ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ filled the room, followed by some very surprised faces.
After reading both versions of the poem, we discussed why the author chose to present his work in this way. We had a discussion about the effect this poem has on the reader or listener and agreed that the message portrayed in the poem is a powerful one.
Can you have a go at writing a poem with two distinct voices?