On National Poetry Day this year, 2D undertook some activities in relation to the Scottish Poetry Library’s poem postcards.
Below is a poem written by Elena, in which she imagines what it would feel like to be a pillar-box, filling up with all sorts of different messages (this year’s NPD theme) only to be emptied at the end of the day.
Elena’s fantastic poem is a response to Meg Bateman’s poem ‘The Pillar-box’ which you can read by clicking here.
The Pillar Box – by Elena T
They drop one by one.
Letter by letter,
Word by word,
Day by day they come.
I hoard them all,
In my red painted frame.
I keep them dry,
I hold them safe,
Ready for reclaim.
First come the love letters,
Packed with words of love and longing.
They were written at dawn,
At the start of the day,
For then it can seem less daunting.
The business letters:
Bills and complaints and queries.
On bright white paper,
With stark black font,
The first, perhaps, of a long and tedious series.
Postcards of holidays,
From far away places.
They tell of fun,
And of games,
Of night time walks and sunny beach races.
And, of course,
For every happy there must come a sad.
The letters that didn’t make it,
The letters been sent back,
‘Return to Sender’ stamped by the young post lad.
Commiserations are the worst,
They make me want to groan.
It is hard,
It always is,
To say goodbye to one whom we have known.
Each letter that comes,
I will read and I will think.
Some are happy,
Some are sad,
But in each journey I am just a link.
The postman arrives,
At 4 O’clock each day.
He takes the letters,
In his bright red van,
To each destination, far away.
And thus I am left empty,
To wave goodbye to the sun’s last ray.
I will wait,
Before I hold the letters of another day.
Today all the library Book Groups, encompassing pupils from S1 to S6, enjoyed a trip to the Empire cinema at Clydebank for an exclusive showing of the new film adaptation of ‘Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children’. The adaptation of the novel by Ransom Riggs is directed by Tim Burton, and stars some big names including Eva Green, Judi Dench and Samuel L Jackson.
There was unanimous enjoyment of having a whole cinema to ourselves! Many thanks to Mrs Gilchrist for organising the special showing. Reaction to the film itself was generally positive, though there was some spirited debate about the changes that have been made in adapting from the page to the screen. Here are a few vox pop pupil reactions…
“I really enjoyed reading the book, and the movie was good too.”
“We were surprised by the changes made to the plot, but overall it was an enjoyable experience”
“The film was very different from the book, but still great!”
“There were a lot of loop holes. It’s worth just waiting ’til it’s on Netflix instead – but still worth a watch!”
“The CGI was great!”
Creative writing is a form of writing which goes beyond daily routines and opens up a new world of thinking; Kirsty Logan certainly taught the Advanced Higher class this. Kirsty Logan is an award-nominated fiction writer who has deep knowledge and understanding of how to teach students about creative writing. As Advanced Higher English pupils are exploring creative short stories, having Kirsty come in and do a Creative Writing Workshop was a real bonus to the class. Kirsty undertook many activities such as using day-to-day phrases as a springboard to come up with ideas for a story. She also spoke about magic realism which encouraged the pupils to think of everyday situations but with an added twist of magic or excitement. This led all the pupils to go on and create their own unique piece.
All in all, Kirsty was a lovely, bubbly person who hopes to inspire people into seeing the world from a different view in order to trigger our imaginations. She totally engaged the class and is a great role model for encouraging us to do well in creative writing.
Some pupils in the class have been reading her short story collection The Rental Heart and other fairytales, which they have relished sharing. We hope this won’t be the last time we see Kirsty and wish her all the best in her future books and writing.
Molly Macdonald S6
Dominic Hill’s contemporary performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ was quite like no other. With its 1960’s setting, the hostility and intense atmosphere of the Cold War era was rife throughout, offering a stylish contrast to the typical modern backdrop I was expecting of the play.
Taking on the role of the tortured Hamlet, Brian Ferguson explored a rather skittish and on edge rendition of the character; indeed an effective portrayal of a young man left mentally demolished by his father’s suspicious death and verging on insanity. His character was progressively influenced by the corruption infiltrating through those surrounding him; rooting from the head of state, Claudius. However, Ferguson’s display of rage and aggression at times lacked the emotional depth I anticipated from the shattered Prince, perhaps occasionally losing Hamlet’s connection with the audience.
A certainly surprising aspect of the play was the dynamics between Polonious and his daughter, Ophelia. This undoubtedly unpredicted twist could only have been used to represent Ophelia’s innocence being manipulated by those she truly trusted in the evidently male-dominated society.
Fantastically skilful use of the casts’ vast and varied musical talents was exceptionally beneficial in deepening the theme of corruption as the deceased characters wandered the stage creating striking and haunting music. Although Ophelia’s random rock performance indeed exhibited her percolating madness, it distracted from the growing development of plot as Hamlet descends into a downward spiral of disastrous events leading to his death.
Overall, ‘Hamlet’ was a captivating, quirky and, undeniably unique execution of a timeless classic, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Bearsden’s Roving Reviewer
The English Department is honoured and proud to present a short story written by one of last year’s Advanced Higher pupils for her portfolio of creative writing. We hope you are blown away by the finesse and depth of this finely crafted, beautifully written and utterly enthralling short story as much as we were. Congratulations to Grace Turner for what is undoubtedly a superlative example of her very assured creative writing talents.
Creative writers, Higher pupils, and Advanced Higher candidates, please take note! This is how it’s done:
‘Thirst’ – a short story by Grace Turner
If you aspire to write short stories, poetry, plays or even a novel, spek to Miss Wilson in F079 about joining BAbel – the Bearsden Academy Writing Group, see Mr Proffitt about current creative writing competitions, or speak to your own English teacher, who will be only too happy to provide some supportive feedback and advice!
Title page of the first edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mr Proffitt’s S5 class have been studying Romeo & Juliet this term. We have been learning all about Shakespeare’s use of poetry and prose, iambic pentameter, rhyme, the sonnet form and blank verse.
In Act 1, Scene 5, the two “star-cross’d lovers” meet and fall in love at first sight. While Shakespeare gives us Romeo’s first thoughts on Juliet, Juliet’s first impression of Romeo isn’t spoken in the play.
Pupils were tasked with writing a rhyming couplet in iambic pentameter to right this omission! Here is a selection of what the class thought Juliet’s lines might be. Although the iambic pentameter wavers in places, notice how some couplets cleverly include spiritual imagery or the motif of light & dark found elsewhere in the the play! Continue reading
For our study of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (as part of the Higher English course), we were invited to attend a play at Stirling University’s MacRobert theatre where we were to witness Shakespeare’s masterpiece firsthand.
I suppose we all arrived with varying expectations; mostly there was a buzz in the air over what Romeo would look like and whether or not there would be ice cream at the interval – there was. Even so, the excitement of getting to experience such a world-renowned play was on everyone’s faces as the curtains were thrust aside for the opening act.
Romeo wasn’t exactly the Leonardo DiCaprio we had all come to love, and Juliet had died her hair a colour I am pretty sure wasn’t around back then, but their faultless lines and the unmodified storyline left us all in awe. Unmodified that is, until Tybalt made his appearance, or should I say ‘her’. The fact that Tybalt had miraculously turned into a woman for this rendition of Shakespeare’s play had everyone flummoxed for a proportion of the performance and it didn’t help that some of the other actors repeatedly refered to this regenerated Tybalt as a man.
Apart from a few hiccups, such as Juliet knocking over the bottle of poison when she was supposedly dead and a debate over how to pronounce “banished”, the play was accurate and well executed – excuse my pun. I think experiencing the performance ourselves has definitely improved our understanding of the play, especially from seeing it in a different light, the way Shakespeare intended it.
By Rhianna Sweeney
S1 classes are currently studying Robert Burns’ famous narrative poem ‘Tam O Shanter’ as part of an interdisciplinary project in collaboration with the Music and Art departments.
Pupils have been exploring how Robert Burns uses imagery to bring the story of Tam’s drunken escapades vividly to life! They are learning that similes, metaphors and personification (collectively known as ‘imagery’) are used to add detail and description, helping the reader understand the narrative.
After identifying examples from the poem and analysing their effect, pupils in Mr Proffitt’s class drew pictures representing the way that literal characters and events in the poem were figuratively compared to something else, in order to add to the reader’s understanding of the thing being described. Have a look at their visual similes, metaphors and personification in the gallery below! Continue reading
Recently the author Linda Strachan visited S2 to talk about her books ‘Spider’, ‘Dead Boy Talking’ and – most excitingly – we were also the first to hear about her new book ‘Don’t Judge Me’!
She spoke to us about how she found the inspiration for books and what investigations she did before writing them. She also told us lots of little tips and pointers about how to write a good story. There was also the chance to buy two of her books: ‘Dead Boy Talking’ and ‘Spider’. She prepared a powerpoint about her books that explained a lot about her style of writing. She was kind enough to sign books and take questions at the end too.
We learned that ‘Spider’ is a book about a boy called Spider who likes to ‘borrow cars’ – as he calls it! But he has been caught a few times and is on his last warning. However, one night he takes his girlfriend and goes on one last joy-ride, but it ends badly with unforeseen consequences.
‘Dead Boy Talking’ is about a young boy who gets into a fight with his best mate. When he then joins a gang that hates him things begin to turn nasty, as a small fight turns into something much, much bigger.
Linda also gave us a sneak preview of her new book ‘Don’t Judge Me’ which is out in October….but you’ll have to read it yourself to find out what it’s about! Copies of all her books are available from the Milngavie Book Shop, including a limited number of signed copies.
Overall, S2 really enjoyed this fascinating insight into how a real author comes up with ideas and writes books. Thank you to Linda for being such an interesting speaker!
– post written by Catriona Heron, S2