A selection of poems 
by students of Sara-Lois Cunningham


Music is emotion
Happy sad, sunlight, ocean
A song is a story
Love, hate, passion, glory
A voice is a wind
Strong, soft, harsh, kind

Tilly Holker, age 12

How I Came To Believe That I Could Sing

Without Alarming The General Population

When I was seven, or something rather young,

The Sunday School had hymns that we had sung

And thought they’d have a choir, as I remember.

They looked around. I said I’d be a member.

‘But can he sing?’ they asked and someone said ‘no’.

I never quite recovered from the blow.

Well I forgot this as the years went by

But never sang in public, still too shy-

And, thinking there’d be musicological jeers,

Demanding ‘remove him with his great cloth ears’.

Then, recently, I joined the U3A,

A pedagogic club where old folk play,

And found a group who simply sing for pleasure

Improving their pensioned gerontological leisure.

My 80th birthday came, I said one choice

Of present was some lessons for my voice. 

So I met Sara, maybe a bit surprised

That I should wait so long to be apprised

Of vocal talent or none. She heard my song,

Said ‘You can sing and your voice is strong.

Your notes are sometimes sharp, but better that

Than being flat.’

I could have danced around the streets in glee,

But maybe that’s not decorous, not quite me.

And I drove home to Sevenoaks feeling like

The boy I once was, riding his new bike.

So they were wrong in 1938

But I’ll forgive them and it’s not too late

I’m not an ugly duck who seldom sings,

But an ancient swan beginning to flap its wings

So thank you, Sara, Schubert, Verdi, Kern

And all the rest whose songs I’ve yet to learn

Thanks to your art, your skill, your trickery

I’m having a ball with my new pal, Terpsichore.

Roy Jones, age 81

The Night Creature

It was a cold windy night

When the moon was out

And the stars were bright

When it was dark

And I lay in my bed

Visions of night creatures roamed the earth,

In my head

I wake up and standing there

Are the dark creatures

I sat up and quivering with fear

As I prayed that this monster would not come near

For this was no monster

From the human world

His teeth were too pointy

And fingernails too curled

His hands were too big

And his feet were too clumpy

His eyes were too red

And his skin too slimy

Then the monster disappeared

And that’s just how it happened

But I wasn’t scared for he

Had become my pointy, curly, slimy, friend.

Harriet Wadey, age 12

Minerva’s Poem

I could hear my heart beating,

I could only semi breve

As I cycled up a big clef,

Just like that guy Steve!

In a minim I'll be at the top,

I’ll cross the bar line first

When disaster struck, I had a flat

And my poor front tyre burst 

I must have gone over something sharp

I fell off and staved my knee

I thought its fine,

I’ll have a rest and have a cup of C

It got cold and I was quavering,

I didn't know what to do

I put on my crotchet jumper,

It was pink and nearly new

Something inside me struck a chord,

This isn't going to beat me

This isn't a major problem and a minor won't defeat me

My B flat tyre was good to go,

I repaired it with a band

And scaled up to the finale with a cymbal in my hand

My symphony didn't win the race,

Next year I’ll raise my tempo

So watch this space, I'll get first place,

My middle name is presto!

Minerva McLeod, age 9

But still I wake
Soldiers sent to die as cattle,
Tremulous tears of cowardly shame,
Exploding shells shatter, screeching, wailing of demented choirs,
But still I wake.
Intruding lead aborting life within,
Abrupt endings for those young boys, barely matured,
Perturbed mothers at home, dreading that yellow telegram,
But still I wake.
The haunting wail of whistles,
Bringing the lamb to slaughter,
Innocent tongues dying for their country,
Fragmentary hearts of long lost souls,
But still I wake.
Friends shatter to segments before my eyes,
People one moment, morsels the next,
But this time I am lucky, targeted by German sniper,
Arms fall slack, legs motionless,
I do not wake.

Josie Hawthorn, age 13

Dear Soldier

I was disheartened to be sent to war,

The fear grew inside me like an infected sore.

My heart was beating like a drum getting louder and louder, 

I climbed down the trench, I could hear the guns screeching.

Deafening silence struck me,

When I felt the warm blood trickling from my ear.

I knew I would not wake. 

Izzie Hawthorn, age 9