I've done my visit to the village school - a beautiful little place set in a cosy little village on the Cheshire plain, in sheep-farming country. The children were a delight, the staff welcoming and pleasant. I really enjoyed my morning there. Here is the pirate poem I mentioned in my last posting:
Call me Jolly Roger, mates!
Jolly Jane and me
Are the fiercest jolly pirates
That sail the jolly sea.
We wear jolly black eye patches.
Our parrot, Jolly Jones,
Wears a jolly hat that matches
Ours with the skull and bones.
We wave our jolly swords and talk
In a jolly fearsome way.
Along the jolly plank you'll walk
If you don't do as we say!
Pieces of eight, shiver me timbers!
We'll soon be off to Spain
After eating our fish fingers
And if it doesn't rain.
All aboard! Anchors aweigh!
Ooh ar, ooh ar! we shout
When jolly me and jolly J
Go pirating about.
Please don't look so jolly worried,
It's just pretend you see.
Real pirates are jolly horrid,
Not like Jane and me.
The children clapped the poem without being asked and went on to write their own pirate poems. The whole school had turned out in pirate costume - including the teachers. Yo-ho-ho. Great. Too often teachers think they are above that sort of thing but not these good people.
It reminded me of that old old thing with school uniforms where so often the teaching staff proclaim all kinds of benefits of school uniform yet never wear it themselves. How two-faced is that. I hate school uniforms. I think they contribute towards intolerance of difference. Some say that it gets around children sulking a begging and fussing and fretting to get the latest trainers. Well, I've got an idea: while they are in school, why not educate them out of being such avid little consumerists and slavish followers of fashion?
I did another poem from my minute but growing repertoire of poems and rhymes for the young:
Have you heard of skwigmaroo?
They come from Cheshire, mainly from Crewe,
Dress only in red or three shades of blue,
Secure their beaks with a silver screw,
Fix their wigs with peppermint glue,
Put all six feet into one big shoe,
Paddle The Cloud in a pink canoe,
Laugh like a drum, sing like a zoo,
Say nothing at all when a poem won't do.
There's none such fun as skwigmaroo!
I rarely use exclamation marks but I seem to dip in the bag for them with the children's stuff. I think jolly uncles must keep a few in their waistcoat pockets.
In answer to another question from a reader of this blog: Yes, unless otherwise stated, all the poems posted here are (c) 2008 W. Terry Fox.
One last observation: There are no men on the staff of many of the primary schools I have visited. What a shame it is that we have become so tainted as a society that a man can find it too problematic to say he wants to work with young children. It leaves a gap in the early stages of a child's learning that I am sure cannot be good for them or society at large.
I'll tell you about my 'make a nOIse' in libraries gigs next time. In the meanwhile, take good care and read some poetry.