Stand Together

Stand Together

Stand Together

Each year Holocaust Memorial Day has a theme. This year it’s ‘Stand together’. I work closely with schools in Cambridge doing poetry, song, drama and documentary, doing a variety of story-telling, poetry performance, getting the children writing and performing too. This is all under the auspices of Professor Helen Weinstein and HistoryWorks. This year they asked me to write lyrics for three songs, one for Primary, one for Secondary and one for the Community.

Here are the lyrics for the primary song. Hundreds of children will sing this in the Cambridge Corn Exchange on January 26 (The music is here):

 

A child wanders through the ruins
A family fears a knock at the door
A grandma looks for her old home
They know they didn’t start this war

We are better
when we stand together
When we stand together
We are better

The child is ours, we must make it safe
The family’s ours, we must hear their call
The grandma’s ours, we must find a home
We know we have to stand with all

We are better
When we stand together
when we stand together
we are better

 

WRITING IDEA – Talking Pictures

So, let’s ask ourselves what can we ‘do’ with these lyrics to start off writing something?

First of all, it’s the kind of poem or song that uses the idea of ‘talking pictures’ – rather than tell a story. Please feel free to use and recycle this idea. The core method of the poem, then, is to create three talking pictures – the child, the family and the grandma.

If you are writing a poem about awful or tragic events you could try doing the same – picking three images you’ve seen on the TV, heard about or perhaps has happened in your family. They don’t have to be events in a story. They could be from different events from anywhere in the world.

After the three talking pictures, I came up with a line that is a statement about what I thought was wrong about this. Or how it is that they didn’t cause these bad things to happen.

Then I’ve got a chorus. I wrote that to fit the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day. You can ask yourself whether you want a chorus or not. It’s up to you, of course!

Then I went back to my three talking pictures and asked myself the question what do they have to do with me? What is my or our responsibility towards them. And I figured it out that no matter how distant the people are, they are still part of the ‘us’ that is the human race. I looked for a simple and neat way to express that.

Now, perhaps you might want to write about something completely different – a scene on a beach, or events at school over a period of time, or some things that make you angry or annoyed. You could use my ‘three talking pictures’ method.

Or you could make a poem using 6 or 10 or even more talking pictures. To help tie them together you could put in a one-line chorus every 3 or 4 lines. It’s up to you.

Best of luck.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Nicholson 4 weeks ago

    always love your posts your such an inspirational person, taking your sadness and sorrow and making wonderful story’s and poems. when I read them I feel like a child again and my children and grandchildren love them too. keep up the great work, best wishes.

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