This is a poem that I wrote about the transition to high school. It’s something that is very much at the forefront of my mind at the moment as for only the second time in a decade, I have a Year 7 form again. Not only this, but I start again on the merry-go-round of teaching English to a new Year 7 class too. So, this year I will see a Year 7 class at least once a day every day.
As one of the people most responsible for these new students, you tend to find that they’re on your mind quite a bit. So, a few days ago I found myself discussing a particular student in my new form with a colleague and it got me to thinking about this stage of their school careers. I began to think about my role, but also what I’d compare the Year 7s with and the image of fledgling birds in a nest came to mind. It’s not the most original thing, but I ended up writing the following poem from the idea.
Fledglings (A poem best read in your best David Attenborough voice...) Safely incubated over the course of a carefree six week summer, now is the time for parents to let go of one more downy feather, as their latest fledgling ventures out into another brave new world. Shielded up to this point by everything familiar and much the same routine for the last 6 years, now almost everything will change. Another journey is about to be made, new lessons learned and, with a tear of trepidation, they are pushed from the nest. Pushing through a door, a portal to a new life of possibility and potential, some upright, confident, ready, while others seem still to lack the confidence that will see them take flight. Gathering in groups or shuffling into corners where adult eyes are immediately alerted to the potential for danger or a plan being hatched. Already, lines are being drawn... From here, a steep learning curve will be climbed by choosing haphazardly from a list including bravado, belligerence and bewilderment. There will be casualties along the way, tears and tantrums, but eventually all will thrive in one way or another as confidence grows, feathers are earned and flight, however cautiously, is taken, and however long it may take, is embarked upon in order to begin yet another grueling journey.
With this poem – as with lots of the others that I write – it started with a few lines just arriving in my head after a little bit of thought. Usually, from there I’ll scribble them down and try to write more, before I decide what goes together…and sometimes even what it’s about!
The difference with Fledglings was that when forming those few lines in my head I could ‘hear’ the voice of David Attenborough reading them! As I wrote more, this just seemed to keep happening until, in the end, I just decided to try and write the whole thing as if it part of the narration of a show like Planet Earth. I really liked the idea of having a bit of fun with the poem. After all, it’s a very simple metaphor, so there had to be something else that anyone reading might find interesting! I hope that it’s a ‘twist’ that other people like. And I really hope that it’s not just me that sees or hears the poem this way. Maybe, if you find yourself a quiet space, you could try to read it in your best David Attenborough voice…
As ever, feel free to leave a comment as I always enjoy people’s thoughts about what I write, especially the poems!