The Forest of Tangle
Deep in the Forest of Tangle
The King of the Makers sat
With a faggot of stripes for the tiger
And a flitter of wings for the bat.
He'd teeth and he'd claws for the cayman
And barks for the foxes and seals,
He'd a grindstone for sharpening swordfish
And electrical charges for eels.
He'd hundreds of kangaroo-pouches
On bushes and creepers and vines,
He'd hoots for the owls, and for glow-worms
He'd goodness knows how many shines.
He'd bellows for bullfrogs in dozens
And rattles for snakes by the score,
He'd hums for the humming-birds, buzzes for bees,
And elephant trumpets galore.
He'd pectoral fins for sea-fishes
With which they might glide through the air,
He'd porcupine quills and a bevy of bills
And various furs for the bear.
But O the King of the Makers
With tears could have filled up a bay,
For no one had come to his warehouse
These many long years and a day.
And sadly the King of the Makers
His bits and his pieces he eyed
As he sat on a rock in the midst of his stock
And he cried and he cried and he cried.
He cried and he cried and he cried and he cried,
He cried and he cried and he cried.
Charles Causley (b. 1917)
Chosen for Poems for Refugees by the poet Brian Patten
The sounds of The Forest of Tangle are remarkable; I had a lively session with Year 7 recently, during which they improvised the soundtrack for a performance. After reading out the poem, put pupils in pairs and get them to invent more items that the King of the Makers might have in his warehouse: "He had slow sluggish slime for the snails To squish over clouds in sea He'd hairy toes for the gremlins And fluff for the bumblebees' knees." (Emily, Year 7). Incorporate contributions into a class poem. For an art project, get pupils to paint details from the poem and piece them together in a class collage. (How do you draw "a flitter of wings"? I'm sure someone will be able to - or at least design a label for the jar!)
Cliff Yates is deputy head of Maharishi School, Lancashire
Under a special offer from publisher Vintage and The TES, for every copy of Poems for Refugees (pound;6.99 including pamp;p, available now) you buy through our special phone line, 0970 191 9932, pound;1.20 per copy will go to the TES-UNICEF appeal and pound;1.20 will go to War Child's work in Afghanistan. By contrast, only pound;1.20 will go to charity from copies sold in bookshops. Teachers and pupils can listen to an audio recording of the poem by the writer or a celebrity on our campaign web pages www.tes.co.ukafghanistan