Tears in the forest

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 "The Forest of Tangle" in class.

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

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