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Beyond Bars   by  students  from  7MT6  @  MLC  School   These  evocative,  thought-­‐provoking  poems  by  young  writers  explore  the  tension  between  the   need  for  animal  conservation  and  the  animals’  own  desire  for  freedom.    

M L C S c h o o l   R o w l e y   S t r e e t  

"Good teaching  is  more  a  giving  of  right  questions  than  a  giving  of  right  answers."   -­‐-­‐Josef  Albers  

  Through  out  the  term  year  7  have  been  exploring  the  wonders  on  animal  poetry.  By   both  writing  and  reading  animal  poems  they  have  been  on  a  poetry  safari  looking  at   lots  of  different  types  of  poetry  and  poetry  techniques.  Though  they  have  been   working  through  a  textbook  to  explore  these  techniques  deeper,  they  have  had   amazing  inspiration  that  has  leaded  them  to  write  poetry  that  they  never  thought   they  could  write.     Year  seven  went  to  the  zoo  for  inspiration  for  their  final  animal  poem.  After  filling   out  a  booklet  about  twelve  different  animals  students  were  to  sit  in  front  of  an   animal  and  fully  observe  how  the  animal  moved,  looked  and  even  breathed.  This   experience  was  amazing  and  most  of  the  year  experienced  animals  in  a  way  they   had  never  done  before.  They  all  truly  absorbed  the  animals  they  were  studying  and   had  the  opportunity  to  see  through  the  eyes  of  the  animal.  They  certainly  had  some   laughs  and  some  of  the  animals  they  saw  may  not  have  been  fully  appropriate  for   their  age  group.  The  poems  these  girls  developed  over  the  next  lessons  were   amazing,  they  truly  captured  perfect  images  of  the  animals  and  conveyed  emotion   in  a  way  most  of  them  could  have  before  only  dreamed  of.     The  next  inspiration  came  in  the  form  of  already  published  poems  and  songs.  Year   seven  had  the  opportunity  to  look  through  and  analyse  different  songs  and  poems   and  figure  out  the  different  technique  in  these  poems.  The  girls  then  went  the  next   step  further  to  figure  out  why  these  techniques  have  been  applied  and  what  the   effect  was  of  putting  them  in  the  poems.  Some  girls  also  did  this  as  a  class  activity   as  well  as  doing  it  on  their  own.  After  looking  through  many  poems  year  seven  also   got  the  chance  to  take  lines  from  poems  and  turn  them  into  work  of  their  own.  The   poems  developed  were  amazing.     The  year  seven  students  had  all  these  amazing  opportunities  due  to  the  hard  work   and  dedication  of  the  teachers.  With  out  there  tireless  effort  and  productive  but   sometimes  negative  advice,  none  of  the  work  that  the  students  did  would  have  ever   been  so  developed.  The  way  these  teachers  gave  their  advice  was  amazingly   constructive  and  the  way  they  presented  it  was  always  leaving  the  student  to  find   the  answers,  but  giving  them  the  way  how  to.       This  unit  has  definitely  taken  all  the  students  on  a  journey  about  not  only  the   techniques  of  animal  poems,  but  also  the  essence  in  which  they  should  be  used.     I.M     Cover  Photo      


It is  hard  to  ‘teach’  poetry.  Whilst  some  would  argue  that  the  essence  of  poetry  lies   in  the  skillful,  learned  application  of  established  poetic  techniques  such  as  simile  and   metaphor,  others  would  storm  the  literary  barricades  championing  the  need  for   complete  freedom  of  expression  without  a  slavish  dependence  upon  established   conventions.  How  can  you  do  justice  to  a  literary  art  form  that  is  equally  well   represented  by  both  of  these  views?     Our  approach  was  to  develop  awareness  of  poetic  forms  and  techniques  whilst   providing  opportunities  for  personal  reflection  and  expression.  Free  writing   techniques  allowed  students  to  contact  the  sometimes  surprising  contents  of  their   subconscious  which  could  then  be  shaped  and  nuanced  into  pleasing  forms,  without   losing  the  essential  truth  of  their  experience.     Whether  a  poem  is  a  massive  epic  that  rhymes  and  contains  complex  literary   allusions  or  whether  it  is  seventeen  syllables  long,  the  core  factor  in  its  success  is   that  it  remains  true  to  the  experience  of  the  poet.  If  that  truth  connects  with  that  of   the  reader,  then  we  can  say  that  the  piece  has  significance.     Many  of  the  poems  you  read  here  are  as  expressive  of  adolescent  concerns  for   freedoms  and  agency  as  much  as  they  address  the  need  to  liberate  animals  from   captivity.  Some  are  very  personal  whilst  others  are  playful  with  technique.  All  are   based  on  direct  experience  of  animals  observed  at  an  excursion  to  Taronga  Zoo.     One  of  our  great  inspirations  was  the  work  of  the  American  poet,  Mary  Oliver  whose   reflective  style  helped  develop  the  tone  of  their  work.     It  is  hoped  that  the  sentiments  expressed  are  able  to  connect  with  your  own   strivings  and  interests.  It  is  with  great  pleasure  that  I  make  these  poems  available  to   readers.       Steven  Caldwell      


I dance  through  the  brown  snow,   The  ice  crunching  under  my  paws.   I  hear  the  wind  whistle  with  woeful  wisdom,   I  feel  the  burn  of  the  cold.     I  see  the  mountains  in  their  white  furs  ahead,   Standing  tall  and  straight  with  dignity.   I  start  to  bound,  and  I  follow  the  mountains.     My  tail  aloft,     I  gallop  forwards  with  the  sun  watching  over  me.   The  clouds  that  reflect  my  beige  fur,     Mud  that  reflects  my  brown  spots.     The  rocks  cluttered  ahead,     They’re  a  stain  on  flawless  snow.   I  stop  and  my  grey  eyes  gaze  upwards,   I  skid  along  the  ice  and  I  halt.     The  smell  of  the  Bharal,  the  blue  sheep,   So  delicious  and  fresh.     And  then  I  see  it,   Bounding  through  the  rocks.   I,  the  snow  leopard  have  found  my  prey.     I  bolt  and  I  run,  I  climb  and  I  scutter   I  dash  up  the  rocks  and  I  spy,   But  the  Bharal  sees  me  and  he  runs.   He  looks  back  at  me  almost  as  if  he  feels  sorry  for  me.     I’m  still  moving  with  the  sheep  infront,   My  paws  surge  forward,   They  push  down  on  his  hind  and  he  collapses.     He  struggles  but  too  late,   I  sink  my  teeth  into  his  neck,   The  warm  blood  flows  across  my  lips.   The  Bharal’s  struggling  stops,   I  feast.      



I run  through  the  trees  and  up  the  cliff,  and  jump.   I  skim  over  the  fence  and  tumble  down  the  other-­‐side.   I  have  made  it   I  am  free     I  start  to  walk  but  then  someone  notices  me   My  walking  pace  turns  into  a  run   And  soon  my  running  turns  into  a  sprint   I  run  for  my  life.     With  5  men  on  my  tail     I  look  ahead;  my  opponent  stands  its  ground   I  speed  up  even  more  and  leap     I  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  glossy,  glittering  city     But  a  net  swoops  over  and       I  struggle  and  try  to  escape   My  orange  tail  covering  my  eyes   The  world  outside  that  wall     Colourful  lights  and  tall  glass  buildings   WHISH,WHAM,WHOP     The  colours  whizzed  in  front  of  me   Like  a  flock  of  rainbow  lorikeets  racing  to  their  dinner   I  am  taken  back  into  captivity   Back  into  the  dark,  dreary  dungeon     It’s  been  a  month  and  I’m  still   In  my  small  enclosure   Eating  my  bamboo   Hands  pulling  my  furry  tail     I  wish  I  could  go  back  home   I  wish  I  were  with  my  family.        




Slippery, slimy,  swift,  slider   Up  in  the  air,  I  grab  the  fish   Graceful,  gifted,  greedy,  glider   I  swallow  whole,  my  delectable  dish     Flapping  flippers  in  a  flash   Swimming  along  the  ocean  floor   Dutiful,  delightful  in  a  dash   Seeing  the  seabed  in  a  bore     Wispy,  wistful,  wiry  whiskers   Slowly  I  stand  up  on  one  fin   The  crowd  claps-­‐like  in  a  circus   Careful  not  to  take  a  spin     Patiently,  perfectly-­‐I  strike  a  pose   Beyond  the  wall  there  is  a  door   Nervously,  neatly-­‐with  a  ball  on  my  nose   I  long  to  see  that  something  more     Strapping,  strong  with  sturdy  tail   I  crave  to  feel  fresh  growing  grass   I  search  and  yearn  but  always  fail   I  can  never  pass  that  see-­‐through  glass          



The Glass  Proves  Weakness     Senses  awake   Eyes  like  blades   Teeth  glistening   Alpha  ready  to  strike   King  of  the  jungle     Flash,  flash,  flash.   Wow,  wow,  wow.     People?   Alpha  snarls   Opportunity  a  waits   Sly  as  the  devil     Approaches  astute   Closer,  closer,  closer   SNAP     Attempts  but  fails   Something  so  feeble;   extinguish  alphas     authority?     Sheet  of  glass     People  jump   but  are  not  afraid.     They  have  their  protection   they  walk  away     alpha  longing  freedom     Alpha  sinks  to  his  stance   weak  and  overthrown   King  of  the  jungle  no  more        



Lie in  Wait     If  only  I  could  understand  what  he  wanted.   How  he  felt,   The  sorrow  he  endured     If  only  I  could  know,   What  made  him  happy?   Why  he  kept  his  tangled,  orange  mane  down,   And  never  lifted  his  head.     If  only  I  knew  why  he  refused  to  eat,   The  tender  meat  put  in  front  of  him.   Why  does  he  breath  slowly  and  deeply  as  if  lost  in  thought?     What  does  he  growl  at  under  his  breath?   Reminiscent  of  something  in  his  past?     BOOM!     The  sound  that  almost  broke  his  heart.       If  only  I  had  known  the  reason  he  lay,   Around  all  day,   Lethargic  and  having  lost  all  hope.         If  only  I  had  known   Why  he  wanted  so  desperately,   To  know  future,   Keeping  his  thoughts  to  himself,   THAT  was  the  wise  old  lion.         If  only  I  had  known  why  he  kept,   A  sharp  eye  on  the  outside  of  the  cage,   Waiting,  anticipating  his  end.      



Step, twirl,  shuffle,  jump.   Do  it  right,  or  kick  in  rump.   Claps  rain  down  on  me   What  happens  after,  they  don’t  see,     One  move  wrong  and  anger  flashes   Whips  are  drawn,  countless  thrashes.     There  is  no  escape  from  pain,   A  daily  battle  to  keep  sane.     Teeth  are  broken,  claws  pulled  out,   Red-­‐hot  rod,  stabbed  through  snout.   In  a  cage  of  depression,     No  knight  to  end  my  oppression.       No  reward  for  my  daily  chores,   No  relief  or  rest  for  my  sores.   Disease  infected,  never  inspected,   Already  tiring,  slowly  dying.         No  reason  for  this  type  of  madness   A  dark,  black  world,  no  shred  of  kindness.   We  will  not  last,  we  will  die  out,   We’ll  dance  away  our  lives,  no  doubt.     Barely  what  I  used  to  be,   All  I  loved  was  stripped  from  me.   Does  anyone  know?  Does  anyone  care?   ‘Bout  the  unknown  fate  of  a  dancing  bear.        



An Otter’s  Longing     I  wish  I  could  see  them  again.   The  light  blue  sky,   The  sweet  pouring  rain,   The  yellow  sand,   The  salt  scented  wind  and   That  thunderous  roar  of  the  sea,        Her  polished  sharp  whiskers,   Her  brilliant  black  coat,   That  musky  smell  of  the  otter  I  long  for,       Life  seems  meaningless  without  him,   His  light,  gentle  voice,   His  gentle,  black  eyes,   His  long,  shiny  claws,   The  otter  I  long  for:         They  were  quick.   They  were  strong.   The  invincible.     We  stood  no  chance  against  them.     They  then  shot  him,   And  took  his  body  away.   I  stood  helpless.   I  was  nailed  to  the  spot.       That  moment,  and  from  then  on,   I  was  clinging  onto  nothing.   A  empty  heart,   A  empty  wish.   A  meaningless  life.     I  heard  a  shot,  and   Before  I  know  it,  darkness  enveloped  me,   Turning  my  life  into  an  empty  dream.       But,  there  is  hope  in  life.   The  silver  lining  to  a  cloud.     I  open  up  my  eyes  to  a  blue  sky  with    transparent  clouds.  


The sun  is  shining  brightly,  and  the  birds  are  singing.     The  atmosphere  I  am  in  is  bright,  and  is  radiating  happiness.   But  I  am  far  from  happy.   But,  there  is  hope  in  life.   The  silver  lining  to  a  cloud.     Then  there  is  a  chance  of  hope.     The  invincible  creatures  open  the  gateway  to  my  freedom,  but  I  pause.   They  bring  in  a  large  metal  box  .   What  could  it  be?         They  open  the  door.   Curiosity  gets  the  better  of  me  and  I  step  closer.   And  out  steps  my  beloved.   Her  polished  sharp  whiskers,   Her  brilliant  black  coat,     The  wish  I  was  clinging  onto  all  this  time,     Has  finally  come  true.                    



A Seal  Story     Diving,  head  first   Into  the  clear,  clear  water.   Those  eyes  as  sparkly  as  a  star     Glaze  up  into  the  blue,  blue  sky.   Not  a  cloud   Not  a  sound   Just  the  bright  sky.   He  looks  down,   The  ice  cubes  are  melting   Global  warming  is  coming.   A  rumble  hits  the  snow,   BOOM!   In  the  dry  land  of  Antarctica.   He  looks  up     HONK!   A  big  white  chunk  of  ice  is  coming.     With  a  swish  of  a  tail   And  a  push  with  his  flippers   Off  he  goes!   Gliding  along  at  full  speed.   The  place  is  coming  apart.     His  home,  his  regular  life  gone   He  will  have  to  find  somewhere  else  to  live   But  his  true  hearth  will  stay.     Washing  up  onto  the  bay  Tasmania,   A  place  so  different  to  him.   Looking  around     Smelling   Unfamiliar  faces   But  are  of  the  same  of  him   Same  whiskers,  same  tail,  same  face   They  are  definitely  his  type.     But  how  come  he  doesn’t  know  them?   He  thought  that  all  of  them  had  been  died     The  weather  is  much  warmer   There  is  more  fish  than  Antarctica   He  is  not  used  to  it.     The  days  he  spent  shivering   Are  over.   Now  he  will  spend  his  days  sweating   Under  the  hot  Australian  Sun   Forever.    



Ocean Ballerina     When  I  see  a  seal,   I  think  of  how  it  can  forgive  humanity  for  what  we  have  done.   As  it  stares  at  me  with  keen,  friendly  eyes,   Before  it  gracefully  dives  into  the  water.     Like  an  ice  skater,   It  glides  beneath  the  tranquil  ocean  waters.   A  lightning  fast  silhouette  against  the  crystal  blue.     My  train  of  thought  is  interrupted  by  the  seal’s  head  bobbing  up,   No  longer  one  with  the  sea.   Suddenly,  its  grace  is  all  but  gone  and  is  replaced,   With  clumsy  movement.   How  can  something  so  elegant  in  water  be  so  awkward  on  land?   It  drags  its  giant,  grey  body  towards  me.   A  rhythm  is  formed  as  it  drags  itself  forward  and  plops  down.   It  looks  up,   It’s  pureness  and  vulnerability  openly  displayed  before  me.   If  only  it  knew  how  much,   It’s  species  suffered  because  of  our  ignorance.   As  it  lumbers  towards  the  water,   I  think  how  it  could  be  the  next  victim  of  our  unknown  cruelty.     With  a  backward  glance,   The  seal  jumps  into  the  water,   It’s  well  known,  but  dangerous  home.   I  wonder  if  it  would  be  more  hesitant  to  dive  in,   If  it  knew  that  so  many  of  it’s  kind  met  a  horrible  end,   In  the  same  place  it  is  swimming  in,  and  has  been  swimming  in  it’s  whole  life.    


Suddenly the  serenity  of  the  water  is  interrupted,   By  a  giant  grey  mass  as  powerful  as  a  rocket.   The  seal  soars  upward,  as  graceful  as  a  ballerina.  

Time,   slows  down,     as,   it,   reaches,     the  peak,      


of its,     upward,     journey.   Everything  speeds  up  again  as  it  dives  into  the  water.  


With  a  flick  of  its  tail  it  disappears  once  again  beneath  the  waters   I  watch  it  swim  away.    I  wish  it  luck  and  hope  that  it  does  not  meet  the  same  fate,   That  many  seals  just  like  it  have  met.      



I have  changed  my  spots  for  stripes    I  am  a  prisoner  in  this  jail   Only  to  be  freed  by  the  wardens  key.     I  long  for  an  escape   From  the  prying  eyes   Watching  my  every  move   To  return  to  a  place  private  and  to  myself     I  stare  through  my  bared  window   And  look  far  out  to  the  blue  horizon    That  is  interrupted  by  mountains  capped  with  snow   Cool  and  Crisp     I  yearn  to  be  back  home     Where  all  is  chilly  and  snowy   The  heat  is  weakening  me   Like  the  metal  ball  chained  to  my  legs     As  I  pace  in  my  small  jail  cell     I  pine  for  wide-­‐open  spaces     Far  as  the  eye  can  see   Freedom     But  most  of  all     I  ache  for  my  family   To  be  reunited  once  more     And  to  be  freed      



Otter   I  slide  into  the  pool  of  blue-­‐green,   Leaving  no  ripples  at  the  surface,   Swish,  goes  my  tail,   As  it  paints  bubbles  on  my  canvas,   My  canvas,  the  water,  my  home     Like  a  torpedo  I  shot,   The  bubbles  trail  me,   The  bubbles  rise  up,  to  get  away,   Feeding  the  cool,  moist  air     I  flip,   But  I  don’t  feel  my  heart  skip  a  beat.   I  twist,   But  the  excitement  is  gone,   Leaving  only  a  dry  stretched  rag,   Thrown  in  the  sunlight,  left  to  shrivel  and  shrink.   That  is  me.     I  watch  my  fellow  friends,   And  with  envy  I  see,   The  only  thing  trapping  them,   Is  the  glass  cage  they  are  imprisoned  in,   Unlike  me…     Circling,  circling,  worrying  every  day,   I  know  it  is  time,   To  be  carried  away,   Cradled  in  bliss,   Wrapped  in  peace,   Following  the  calm,   And  I  make  it.      



The roar  of  the  waves   The  shrieks  of  the  seagulls   The  crunch  of  sand   Under  his  feet     The  whistle  of  wind,   Swirling  around   The  drum  of  distant  thunder   Ready  to  strike     The  salty  smell  of  the  wild  sea   The  feel  of  the  wind,   Whipping  across  his  whiskers   The  flying  fish  gracefully  leaping   Into  the  crisp  air     He  stood  there,  hope  on  his  face   Day  turned  to  night   Sun  turned  to  moon   But  no  sign  of  anything     His  body  tense,  muscles  straining   He  lifted  himself  up   As  high  as  he  could   To  search  for   His  long  lost  friend     Like  a  wolf  at  night,   Senses  sharp,  knife-­‐like   He  crept  forward   Waves  crashed  next  to  him   Threatening  to  suck  him  up     He  was  left  soaked      

The Otter   Whiskers  drooping   Matching  his  feelings   Water  dripped  off   Like  thousands  of  crystals     His  brown  grey  coat   All  dull  with  grief   Glistened  with  droplets   Like  the  starry  night       He  wished  so  bad   A  miracle  will  come   Bring  his  friend  back   From  the  evil  waters     Two  days  passed     He  looked  like  a  wreak   The  waves  still  mean   Unforgiving  waters   Splattering  around  him     His  friend  was  his  life   He  was  part  of  him   But  he  disappeared   Into  the  water  like  a  magnet     His  eyes  fogged  up   Along  with  his  realization   That  his  friend   His  life     Gone   Cindy  


Entertainers   I  watch  them  try.   This  is  how  I’ve  grown  up,   I  was  born  here   In  this  cage,  between  these  gates   I  was  born  into  it  all.     Birds  great  and  small   Try  to  escape.   The  flap  their  wings  with  hope   But  it’s  no  use,   They  are  to  smart  for  us.     I  sit  on  a  moist  but  sturdy  branch,   I  watch  as  people  come,   As  people  go.   Our  whole  lives  are  but  a  show  to  them.     They  don’t  care,   Why  would  them?     I  admit  I  was  juvenile  once,   Sweeping,  swooping,  I  soared  through  the  sky.p0o     But  I  grew  up.     I  see  water  on  the  ground,   I  step  over  the  puddle  and  look  into  it,   My  heart  shaped  face  stares  back  at  me.   The  background  I  see  behind  me  is  the  one  I  have  always  seen,   I  have  no  other  home.     This  is  my  life,   I  have  no  place  in  the  outside  world.   This  metal  my  cradle,   Protecting  me.   From  what  I  am  not  sure.     The  metal  cracks,   Then  crumbles,   The  rusty  pieces  fall  to  my  silver  wing.     A  tense  silence  awaits,   Then  they  all  break  free.     But  they  will  be  back  by  dawn,     I  was.      


Not as  it  seems       Pouncing,  ravenous  lion,  attacks  the  mere  helpless   Clawing  through  the  harsh  endeavours   Preying  on  the  souls  of  the  weak   Crunch,  pop  goes  the  leaves  under  his  huge  paws   Powerful,  unforgiving,   Ripping  through  the  shredded  remains  of  the  corpse   Head  held  high  in  mighty  victory…  We  assume.   A  roar  for  pride,  or  for  help?     Habitat  lost  to  agriculture   Soul,  muffled  in  reconstruction,   Modernization,  or  deterioration?   If  only  we  knew  what  you  needed  to  survive   If  only  we  knew  the  power  we  had   Drop  goes  your  head   Falling  down  with  your  hopes  and  family     We  see  the  lion  pounce   We  hear  the  lion  roar   But  do  we  feel  the  lion’s  pain?   Does  he  soar  the  sky  with  hopes  on  edge?   Or  simmer  away,  dreams  lost?   How  to  tell,  that  he  want  land     It  red  fiery  main,  now  a  subtle  dull  grey,     withering  away  its  ferocious  orange  fur   It  hunched  attack  shoulders,  now  drooped   It  faced  pace  adrenalin  in  its  running,  now  replaced  by  the  sag  of  its  limbs.          



The Good  Life     ‘I’ve  got  the  good  life,   It’s  a  warm  and  refreshing  day,   And  love  is  blossoming.’     She  looks  around,   Drops  to  the  ground,   And  starts  digging.     This  is  my  chance,   I  crawl  over,   And  help  her  dig.     Her  fur  is  soft  caramel,   With  chocolate  zigzagging  through,   To  meet  with  two  black  pearls.     Her  sharp  claws  touch  mine,   She  sees  me,   And  blood  starts  seeping  from  my  paw.     The  Illusion  is  ruined,   I  lean  my  sorry  back  against  a  wall,   And  watch  her  wistfully.     I  stare  at  her  gracefully  arched  back,   As  it  straightens  to  watch,   And  warn  the  others.     That’s  when  I  saw  it.   The  giant  figure,   And  the  giant  Cyclops  eye  that  flashed.     The  flash  was  blinding,   But  I  strove  to  protect  my  pack,   Whatever  the  cost.     I  stood  to  face  my  enemy,   Eyes  glaring,   But  all  that  came  were  more  flashes.     I  flashed  my  teeth,   And  razor  claws,   But  all  that  came  were  more  flashes.     The  rest  of  the  pack,   Rose  to  back  me  up,   But  all  that  came  were  more  flashes.     It  was  hopeless…   So  I  played  dead.     At  least  until  the  zookeeper  came  in  with  dinner.  



The seal  is  shiny  and  sleek,   It  uses  its  flippers,   as  it  doesn’t  have  feet.   Seals  can  be  trained  to  do  stunning  tricks,   But  too  much  fish  can  make  them  sick.     As  we  wait  for  the  seal  to  arrive,   It  suddenly  comes  out  to  us  and  dives.   It  balances  balls  upon  on  its  nose,   In  many  kinds  of  exotic  shows.   The  seal  uses  its  phenomenal  sight,   To  ensure  all  tricks  are  performed  quite  right.     The  seal  is  talented  and  smart,   And  makes  water  look  like  works  of  art.   With  patterns  of  energetic  swirls,   And  lots  of  stunning,  liquid  twirls.      



The Snow  leopard     Can  humans  understand  their  lives   Can  we  help  them  survive  any  longer   If  we  leave  them  alone  like  the  past   Will  their  instincts  be  enough     Their  territory  marked  by  a  scratch   Not  a  fence  or  roar  can  show  them       For  they  need  to  see  just  the  signs   Of  other  leopards  prowling  around     Their  silvery  coats  are  lanterns   In  the  dark  cold  winter  nights   Their  soft  warm  fur  protects  them   From  icy  wind  and  weather       Padding  across  the  snow  and  ice     Without  sound  or  disturbance  they  move   Towards  their  prey  and  pounce   No  hesitation  can  be  allowed       Like  ants  being  squished  we  hunt  them   For  their  fur  and  other  expenses   Not  realising  the  damage  to  us   When  we  break  the  chains  in  nature     They  are  tamed  then  set  free  again   They  die  and  wither  away   Their  instincts  are  useless  now   When  they  did  not  use  them  for  living     They  are  perfect  little  moons   They  are  fading  away  like  twilight   Not  needing  us  to  survive     We  just  need  to  leave  them  in  peace     In  the  mountains  of  Nepal     They’re  nature’s  gift  of  beauty     Once  in  great  numbers  they  roamed   Now  they  are  scarce  a  sight     Can  we  help  them  survive  any  longer   Will  our  care  save  their  species   Or  do  we  leave  them  alone  from  now   So  they  live  like  snow  leopards  should.    



Forefathers   The  awkward  and  outcast  gorilla  is  many  ways  like  us     As  such  the  way  it  stands  half  human     It  beats  its  chest  to  show  power     But  when  you  look  into  his  face   You  can  see  the  arch  conflict       The  conflict  came  when  we  the  super  race   Clothed  in  our  selfish  kindness   Ignored  the  cries  and  pleas  of  apes     And  succumbed  to  our  desires       We’ve  forgotten  that  they  were  once  like  us     Both  of  us  were  bearers  of  human  etiquette     Now  that  we’ve  revolved     The  apes  deserve  the  credit   Because  now  days  the  super  race  parties  all  night     And  wakes  up  with  a  raging  headache       Many  don’t  know  that  gorillas  are  humans  too-­‐   They  are  special  humans   The  last  survivors  of  the  old  ways   The  sole  bearers  of  humanity’s  age-­‐old  secret.     Their  age  too  old  to  be  counted   Too  stubborn  to  interact  with  technology     I  think  the  secret  is  based  on  something  called  harmony     Though  I’m  not  quite  that  sure     Harmony  seems  a  far-­‐fetched  term,  as  we’ve  always  been  it  all   The  apes  aren’t  happy  with  the  super  race   Thinking  we  are  some  crazy  lunatics     Well  let  me  say  something  first,    Here  are  some  of  their  characteristics     Their  chests  rumbling  like  giant  taiko  drums     The  leaves  screaming  under  the  black  sumo’s  weight   A  chilling  ROAAR  gouges  the  air     And  all  turn  to  face  thy  magnificent  creature       Vast  green  grounds  full  of  black  mammoths   With  muscular  arms  and  a  build  of  a  bone-­‐breaker   They  dominate  the  lush  forests     The  trees  rush  past  and  the  ground  shakes   As  he  angrily  lunges  at  the  unguarded  intruder     Breaking  his  neck  to  catch  the  eye  of  the  lucky  mistress       A  cradle  of  life,  encircled  with  protective  fathers   Their  stance  so  tall,  rigidness  ferments  them  all   A  keen  eye  looking  out  for  mellow  superborns   One  in  view,  great  ape  takes  aim     23  

His shoulders  square  up       His  thoughts  fling  angry  knives  at  the  intruder’s  way     He  launches  off  his  seat   Teeth  set  in  a  menacing  snarl       He  stops  in  front  of  his  enemy     And  let’s  out  an  angry  AARRGGGH!   The  intruder  goes  flying  backward   His  eyes  wild  with  fear     He  leaves  the  apes’  fortified  compound     And  agrees  to  never  come  again     Beautiful  words  aren’t  they  now     But  we  really  mustn’t  forget     These  foul-­‐mouthed  Neanderthals  only  mean  well     When  they  say-­‐  “I’m  ashamed  of  you,  brother”       They’re  telling  us  to  slow  down     And  just  appreciate  our  surroundings   We  need  to  re-­‐learn  how  to  hunt  and  think  of  our  family   The  old  way  can  be  defined  this  way  in  our  labels  and  categories       Our  scientific  methods  mean  nothing  to  them     Their  simple  ways  are  enviable  for  those  lazy  potato  coaches     Sleep,  eat  and  drink  are  the  only  tasks  in  their  day     But  I  agree,  yes,  the  world  doesn’t  have  a  time  bomb  on  it     These  apes  are  very  territorial     I  suspect  that  this  was  our  fault  in  a  way   Driving  them  back  to  the  brink  of  extinction     They  need  to  conserve  their  ancestry’s  legacy     Keep  it  alive  and  healthy     One  day  our  ancient  ape  friends  may  forgive  us  sinful  folks   Though  I  don’t  think  that  this  will  happen     In  a  lifetime  of  my  own     I  am  proud  to  call  them  my  brother   I  am  ready  to  call  them  my  forefather     My  only  craving  now  is  to  hear  the  naked  truth     Isha  


Meerkats   Meerkats     Silent  as  the  breeze   Active  as  ants   All  cautious     If  only  they  knew   All  are  active   All  but  one   That  one  that  stands  guard   Watching  the  grass   It  sees  it     The  lion  hiding   In  the  tall  grass   Waiting  there     It  watches  its  prey   Working  about   In  the  sun     Now  it  is  a  game   A  waiting  game   Who  goes  first     It  stays  there  watching   As  the  sun  sets   It  still  stays     That  ball  of  fire   Setting  itself    

Then it  goes     It  hunts  them  all  down   They  all  scatter   Into  holes     Ever  so  silent   Like  they  all  are   Still  waiting     Few  were  slaughtered  there   Many  survived   To  live  again     They  scatter  upwards   To  start  again   To  re-­‐build     This  time  more  alert   They  are  active   All  once  more     Silent  as  the  breeze   Active  as  ants   All  cautious     All  this  is  normal   Its  everyday   They’re  meerkats   Selina  


The Seal     A  seal  swims   a  creature  of  elegance  dives   an  example  of  what  is  right  and  pure  leaps   a  monster  of  man  catches   A  seal  is  stripped   Skinned.     What  is  a  life  that  is  not  your  own?   What  is  your  decision  not  made  by  you?   A  limp  body  operated  by  a  weaker  still  mind   As  though  a  puppet  master  is  expertly  pulling  your  strings   Limbs.     A  seal  is  like  a  gymnast   It  lands   bars,  land   It  balances   beam,  ball   It  dances   captivates   entrances.     How  is  it  that  something  with  movement  so  free?   From  the  heart,   Is  spirit  shattered   with  no  trace  of  what  has  been,   left  behind     the  curtains  are  closed   but  the  show  isn’t  over   An  everlasting  audience   Or  pressure  for  forever  captivation  and  demand     Why  is  it  that  perfection  is  demanded?   Something,  anything   Is  demanded   And  domination  rules   always     Little  do  we  know  that  perfection,   was  the  original  state.   Before  blindness  ensued  destruction   of  what  was   A  seal    



The mysteries  that  lie  beneath  me   Was  of  the  life  that  was  before   They  unfolded  the  past  and  future   Yet  it  holds  darkness  that  must  be  revealed   So  dark  that  not  even  the  most  pure  king  could  ever  cure     A  portrait  that  once  held  my  family  together   The  smiles  of  such  joy     Torn  apart  by  the  depths  of  love   The  war  that  betrayed  my  people   The  darkness  that  remains  hidden   It’s  still  lurking,  lurking…   Eating  the  remains  of  fading  love   But  death  and  life  are  fragments  that  cannot  be  explained       Life  is  real   Yet  it  is  complicated   Reality  is  a  mirror  that  you  can  look  into   Yet  not  touch     Once  it  happens,  you  cannot  change  it   It  is  a  reality  beyond  repair   Life  is  like  death,  a  baby  imposter   Yet  it  does  not  cry…     The  future  that  lies  ahead     Will  be  like  a  test  of  what  one  can  hold      



Beyond Bars - an anthology of poems  

This is a selection of poems written by year seven students exploring empathy with animals.

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