"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now", urged Goethe. And after having watched the performance poet and playwright Ash Kotak work with different classes at Sidcot School on Thursday 6 October, it was easy to see that this sentiment was dominant in his approach to his work in schools. Students were encouraged to put aside their reservations, their doubts and hesitations and just write. Poetry commenced immediately: fingers tapped screens, pens scrawled, pencils were chewed, but most of all, creativity, spontaneity, a love of language and fun filled the Quaker Meeting House.
With the theme of ‘Messages’ as their prompt, established rhymesters like Moses Ideka wowed with their wit and wordplay; Katie Sinclair and Olivia Fortune recited some of their best lines; Will Lwellyn mixed poetry with uplifting rhetoric to provide an inspiring message about our ability to make a better Britain; Tom White and Genevieve Lane waxed lyrical on our obsession with phones. What was most evident were the voices of the children – their poetic voices, performing, entertaining and taking flight. They had begun, and boldly! And this is the genius of Ash Kotak: he is a facilitator par excellence. In assembly we heard his work: it was bright, playful, inventive and thought-provoking. But, whether he was working with the Lower Fourth or the Sixth Form, it was clear that he hadn’t come to hear the sound of his own voice; he had come to help us find ours.
Teacher of English
Bombing in Aleppo
In the middle of
And bomb craters
The youths play so
They can forget.
Joy appears in their hearts
For the first time in a while
After it hid under one of
The many destroyed and
People are still afraid to
Come out since their lives might
Have been scarred maybe forever
They are terrified of the fallen
Whispering angels of
An image appears
Looking down the ground from one of the very last
Windows of the city.
It´s a mother holding her baby very
Tightly as he asked ´´ Mom why can´t
bombs falling from the sky be apple pies?´´
As she looks at one of the many scars created by one of
the many attacks she suddenly responds
´´ I wish my love, I wish´´