Poetry in Motion

Our Year 5 children enjoyed a brilliant morning at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts on Monday. They were privileged to work with Richard O’Brien, the Birmingham Poet Laureate, and Alex Jolly, Learning and Engagement Co-ordinator. Our pupils were superbly behaved as they were treated to a tour of the amazing gallery, during which they learned the skills of art appreciation as they interpreted three pieces of art under Alex’s expert guidance. Richard helped the children to use the art as inspiration for writing their own poems.

The following poems were inspired by ‘A Rhinoceros called Miss Clara’, a Flemish bronze from 1750. An enterprising Dutch sea captain brought a young Indian rhinoceros to the Netherlands in 1741 and then toured her extensively across Europe. As the first example to have been seen on mainland Europe since 1579, she caused a sensation. She was christened Miss Clara, and images of her were painted, printed, modelled in ceramics and sculpted in marble.

When you see this, it sends a shiver up your spine.

Horn, a long tusk, pointed as a needle.

Teeth, unforgettable, sharp like knives,

Skin of leather, plates like armour,

Legs like sacks, feet like hooves.

Its small, stick-like ears batting away flies.



Donkey ears, titanium skin

Unicorn horn, seabed voice,

Tree-trunk legs, glass marble eyes,

Power station feet,

No mother or father – an orphan.