Pride shines brightly

4th November 2005 at 00:00
When life is like fragments

Of a mirror breaking up,

Emptiness is the part

You hold

Like a tear in your hand

These lines are from a new collection of poetry published by Batchwood school for students with emotional and behavioural difficulties in Hertfordshire. The collection, Anonymous: poems by young people, grew out of creative writing workshops run at the school for its 21 key stage 3 students with poet Evelynn Sharp.

Funded by a local trust and the Hertfordshire Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (Hacro), the four days of workshops led to at least one poem being produced for the book by every student. The students'

first names appear at the start of the book, but none is identified with particular poems.

The poems range from sport and school to losses, truth and lies. They are raw and powerful, says Ms Sharp: "We wanted to help these students find their voices and have a space where they could talk about who they are. We seemed to be able to create an atmosphere where that was possible and where they felt their voices would be respected.

"After that they wrote with heart-felt language, not turning away from painful life experiences. I remember one boy thought what he had written wasn't any good and threw it away. I rescued it and read it to him, and he could hear his voice. It meant a lot to me that he could share in that way."

The students worked with her in groups of five, supported by learning assistants. Some wrote their own words; others dictated their thoughts. She put them into verse and laid out the book for publication. "These are kids who might often be overlooked, or whose behaviour means they might not be respected. There was such a lot of depth in what they wrote; it was a moving experience for me and for them."

* Anonymous is available from Hacro, tel: 01727 854727; email:


I am watching you

from behind a bush.

I pounce. Attack you.

Hiss, scratch, meow.

Prrr. I eat mice,

fish, frogs.

I am a predator,

you are my prey,

my life has excitement.

Prrr as you say

I love my sweet kitty-kins,

time for tea. Today.


I am feeling small, weak,

sad, angry,

I wear my mask

to cover up

but inside I feel burnt,

crumpled, creased,

like a piece of paper,

trampled, no air,

dead, lifeless,

not encouraged to grow;

I am like a sad flower,

shrivelled, killed off

with poison from life.

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