Donate lines on the rhythm of life

Poems for Refugees is a collection of poems specially written by well-known poets or nominated by celebrities. Buying the book (see information below) will contribute to The TES-UNICEF campaign to help children in Afghanistan return to school. Here, Cliff Yates suggests ways of using Adrian Mitchell's new poem in class.

After reading the poem to the class, ask pupils to write their own version, listing things they value, that they wouldn't want to be without.

Suggest using contrasts such as "the Humming-Birds and the Gorillas" and combining lines for the rhythm, reading them aloud, making them sound right. Perhaps allow pupils to include non-living things, as Kathleen Jamie does in "The Way We Live", (another celebratory list poem with a cracking rhythm); "Of chicken tandoori and reggae, loud from tenementscommitment, driving fast and unswervingfriendship".

Ask pupils to donate lines for a group poem, rearrange them for maximum effect and orchestrate a performance, with individuals or groups reading out individual lines and everyone joining in the refrain.

Cliff Yates is deputy head of Maharishi School, Lancashire and author of Jumpstart Poetry in the Secondary School (Poetry Society)

* Under a special offer from publisher Vintage and The TES, for every copy of Poems for Refugees (pound;6.99 including pamp;p) you buy through our special phone line, 0870 191 9932, pound;1.20 per copy will go to The TES-UNICEF appeal and pound;1.20 will go to War's Child's work in Afghanistan. By contrast, only pound;1.20 will go to charity from copies bought in bookshops.For the next five weeks we will be publishing one poem a week from the book plus teaching tips in TESTeacher, and teachers and pupils will also be able to hear an audio recording of the poem by the writer or a celebrity on our campaign web pages

William Blake says: everything that lives is holy

Long live the Child

Long live the Mother and Father

Long live the People

Long live this wounded Planet

Long live the good milk of the Air

Long live the spawning Rivers and the

mothering Oceans

Long live the juice of the Grass

and all the determined greenery

of the Globe

Long live the Elephants and the

Sea Horses,

the Humming-Birds and the Gorillas,

the Dogs and Cats and Field-Mice

- all the surviving Animals

our innocent Sisters and Brothers

Long live the Earth, deeper than all

our thinking

we have done enough killing

Long live the Man

Long live the Woman

Who use both courage and compassion

Long live their Children

Adrian Mitchell (b. 1932)

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you