Sally Bavage writes:
War comes to Ireland Wood
Well, it does when published poet and author James Nash comes. James was commissioned by Headingley LitFest to run a series of poetry workshops on the WW1 theme with both year 6 classes at Ireland Wood primary school, culminating in a performance assembly in the school hall. After last year's valiant work totally via Zoom this is so much more real. Real emotions, real pride in performance, even some real tears.
Covid precautions are still in place and the young people's performances are videoed so that parents, governors and others can see the finale. We were treated to sixty readings both recorded (compilations of best or favourite lines chosen by the writers themselves) as well as live, nerves soon banished by the supportive atmosphere from all the staff and pupils present. Additionally, classroom assistants put original poems and artwork on display screens for the assembly hall and technical support helped with the slide show and music as well. As James said ”I never thought in the past that one could work with SO many children so successfully, but the school gives such strong support and the staff are so talented.” And James doesn't normally use such strong descriptions in his prose – only his poetry!
I wish that I was a human,
To touch my surroundings,
To consume the energy of daylight and dawn,
To be able to feel my soul.
Feel tears, feel joy,
To be able to see.
To have a heart
To be able to be who I want to be.
But without love, there is no rhythm to life.
Headingley LitFest is most grateful to the Inner North West Community Committee, whose strong support and funding for this work is so much appreciated.