The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Monday, April 25, 2005

How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?

Inspired by ideas detailed on Bloom's blog, on Friday I took my sixth formers' lesson outside. We sat beneath a tree heavy with blossom, near another that showered us with white petals as we discussed poetry on damp grass.

We analysed Blake's The Schoolboy, and then looked at the sense of Englishness filtered through landscape in Edward Thomas' war poetry.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds

It was gorgeous, and gorgeously fitting as a context. A real Miss Jean Brodie of a moment.

Until, that is, a drunken schoolkeeper turned up to take dodgy photos of the horrifed blossom-snowed seventeen year olds.

Poetry. Cuh. Damn place is closer to Shakespeare than poetry.