Senior English at a Distance
Last week contained many treats for me, in the form of essays and designs that my classes sent through in response to our ‘remote lessons’. Thanks to all for their fantastic work – it definitely brightens my day!
Form 6 were writing a story set at the beach or on a river, inspired by their reading of an extract from Lynne Reid Banks’ “Melusine”. Blair picked up the author’s taste for magic with this marvellously chilling little story about a diver.
My Biggest Regret, by Blair (Form 6)
I have never forgiven myself, nor told anyone this story. But the time has come that I must pass on my tale to you and ask you to help.
Many years ago, I went deep sea diving at an uninhabited island in the Caribbean. As I swam down through the salty water a shape emerged from the deep. It was a shadow to start with, but as I got closer it got bigger and bigger. It turned out to be a shipwreck. Waving in the water was a black flag with what looked like a white pattern on it. I had to keep going closer to see what it was. Uuuhhh, I was in shock. It was a pirate flag. Maybe I should have gone back up but something was telling me that I needed to go closer still.
When I reached the ship there was a door. I went through. There was a skeleton. In its hands was a treasure chest. Wow – I tried to grab the chest from its hands, but it snatched it back from me. I tried again and again, at least a dozen times before I realised this was not a coincidence.
As I turned around there were two skeletons standing behind me. I had not noticed them when I came through the door. I tried to convince myself that everything was ok, it was normal. However, when I turned back, the treasure chest and the skeleton had vanished. Something was definitely wrong. Looking around, all the skeletons had disappeared. There was a loud click, and when I got to the door it was locked. My gas tank was not going to last for ever and I was beginning to panic.
I was scared and nervous, and unsure what would happen next. Maybe I just had to accept defeat and I was going to die in the murky swirling depths of the ship. There was a crack in the roof and light was seeping in. I looked around to see if there was anything I could use to escape this prison I was stuck in. On the wall was a plaque – the ship was called Queen Anne’s Revenge. Under that, the date 1717, when the ship was launched. Hopefully in a such an old ship the wood would be rotten. A glimmer of hope begin to roll over my body. Maybe I could break through the door or hull of the ship.
On the ground was a rock which I was able to use to break the door. I quickly swam out. No sign of the pirate skeletons anywhere but lying on the deck was the treasure chest. Carefully looking around to make sure I was alone, I picked up the treasure chest and headed back up to the surface.
When I reached the dive boat I threw the treasure chest aboard and climb up the ladder. There was no-one around, my crew had vanished. I couldn’t wait for them and I prised open the chest. Inside was a note. “You have stolen my treasure chest, so in return I have taken your friends”.
It was signed, “Blackbeard”.
Meanwhile, Form 7 were sharpening their knowledge of poetic techniques by reading James Reeves’ poem “The Sea”, an extended metaphor in which the sea is compared to a “hungry dog”. Kirsty and Ally produced these impressive illustrations of what Reeves’ imagery summoned in their minds.
Form 8 have been incredibly busy, and are leading the way in the quality of the work they are producing. What a wonderful team. Below I’ve shared a descriptive piece by Kiki, which feels full of magic.
The Market, by Kiki (Form 8)
Market stalls line both sides of the road, leaving a narrow passage crammed with people. As you enter the herd, you are surrounded from all angles. People push past fighting to get free. Ahead, a man slips his fingers into someone’s bag then disappears into the crowd. The sun burns down on everyone suffocating them. Sweat rises into the air mixing with the smells of fresh food and dirty bins. Everyone’s different in the crowd, there’s a man with a red velvet cap, a woman with a cape, a girl with wings and a dog with shoes.
There is a stall full of clothes all different colours like a kaleidoscope. A stall full of cheeses with a smell that penetrates your nostrils. On the right there’s a stall with chimes that jangle in the soft sweet breeze. Next to it there’s a stall filled with sugary snacks and children stand mouths open in amazement staring at the lollies and donuts. A small girl with pigtails stands gloating at the others holding in her hands a huge multi-coloured lollipop as big as her face. Their parents drift off to the nearby wine stall. On the table are rows of different flavours waiting to be tasted.
Half way along the long passage, babblers hassle you trying to get your money. They stick glistening bags in your face telling you to buy them. They shout in all languages hoping to grab your attention. The products are beautiful but fake. They have new watches and lovely diamond purses for crazy prices. Once in a while they get lucky and somebody is fooled, so they make a deal.
Then you are on the home straight. The music from lone musicians fills your ears. A man stands in a corner playing the violin and he smiles as coins tinkle into the empty case on the ground. Opposite him a lady stands completely silver moving like a robot. Then an old woman with a globe predicting some poor soul’s future. She is draped in red shawls, her body hidden from passersby. A magician pulls a gold coin from behind a young boy’s ear. He laughs, overcome by the thought of magic.
As you emerge from the market the cold air rushes towards you and it feels like heaven. All around you people carry bags of all different sizes. In them are the strangest things that they bought at a random stall. Leaning against the wall stands one last seller. She has long ginger hair and threatening brown eyes she wears ripped jeans and a stained white top. She holds a wicker basket with pink flowers that smell like the beach and when a little girl walked past she smiled whilst tucking a flower behind her ear.
As the sun sets the stalls pack up and the market is empty.
On Friday, Form 8, too, were trying to create an artistic representation of imagery from two poems. I wanted to share Imo’s beautiful painting with you: this is inspired by Gillian Clarke’s poem “Foghorns”.
Miss E Simpson
Jules Birdsall, 27/04/2020