The What? The Who?

Ifsopoets – thank you thank you for your latest actions on behalf of the cause. We’ll soon be sending you a link to your own poetry blog which you can continue to use to document the results of future poetry actions. Now the struggle continues. Speak out about poetry and what it means to you. Use your poetic imaginations to connect with others, imagine your way into the minds of wildlife and ghost life, give a voice to the downtrodden and oppressed – including animals, dead people and school students!


The Eagle – Alfred Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands; Close to the sun in lonely lands, Ringed with the azure world, he stands. The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls.




  1. 1  Spend time imagining or watching an animal.
  2. 2  Write a six line poem in the voice of that animal.
  3. 3  What kind of sounds and words would your animal use?
  4. 4  What does the animal look like? Smell like? How can you use the sense of taste and touch in the poem?
  5. 5  READ/PERFORM it aloud, either to camera or to an audience, in the classroom or in another public place.


The School Boy – William Blake

I love to rise in a summer morn, When the birds sing on every tree; The distant huntsman winds his horn, And the sky-lark sings with me.
O! what sweet company.

But to go to school in a summer morn, O! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn.
The little ones spend the day,

In sighing and dismay.

Ah! then at times I drooping sit, And spend many an anxious hour, Nor in my book can I take delight, Nor sit in learnings bower,

Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy, Sit in a cage and sing.
How can a child when fears annoy. But droop his tender wing.

And forget his youthful spring.

O! father & mother. if buds are nip’d, And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are strip’d Of their joy in the springing day,

By sorrow and care’s dismay.

How shall the summer arise in joy.
Or the summer fruits appear.
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy Or bless the mellowing year.
When the blasts of winter appear.



  1. 1  Set Yourself Free! Write about your best possible day, spent at school or home – start your writing with the line ‘I love to rise in a summer morn’.
  2. 2  Write a Manifesto of You, a poem that sets out what you care most about. (A manifesto is defined as a life stance, a ‘verbal declaration of the intentions, motives or views of the issuer’).
  3. 3  Every line needs to rhyme with another line (the order doesn’t matter).
  4. 4  Decide which is your favourite of the poems you’ve read. Record yourself talking about why you love it.


The Haunter – Thomas Hardy

He does not think that I haunt here nightly: How shall I let him know

That whither his fancy sets him wandering I, too, alertly go? –

Hover and hover a few feet from him Just as I used to do,

But cannot answer the words he lifts me – Only listen thereto!

When I could answer he did not say them: When I could let him know

How I would like to join in his journeys Seldom he wished to go.

Now that he goes and wants me with him More than he used to do,

Never he sees my faithful phantom Though he speaks thereto.

Yes, I companion him to places Only dreamers know,

Where the shy hares print long paces, Where the night rooks go;

Into old aisles where the past is all to him, Close as his shade can do,

Always lacking the power to call to him, Near as I reach thereto!

What a good haunter I am, O tell him, Quickly make him know

If he but sigh since my loss befell him 1 Straight to his side I go.

Tell him a faithful one is doing All that love can do

Still that his path may be worth pursuing, And to bring peace thereto.



Lots of poems are never published – there are secret poems, poems published after death, never given to a loved one, sent in letters never opened.

  1. 1  Write a poem in the style of a voice you hear in your head, the narrative voice “niggling at the corners of our consciousness”.
  2. 2  Think about who this secret voice is. Does it belongs to a family member or a friend? Someone who inspires you or revolts you? Someone you know well or someone you have never met? Is it the voice of a part of yourself?
  3. 3  LIBERATE that voice! Write that poem and send it to us.
  4. 4  Read it out loud – and then tear it into little pieces.


IFSOPOETS, seize the time and GO to this link to read examples of prize winning work from members of the Poetry Society’s Young Poetry Network and the Movella.com writing community:

Every response poem is different! One is a reply to the author, one a reworking of the poem from another point of view, one copies the structure of the original but changes the subject.

THANK YOU for your efforts in support of the cause. Our movement is strong but the struggle continues. We Must Set Poetry Free!

In solidarity


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