ISH Poem Anthology
ISH Creative Writing Anthology
We hope you enjoy reading this anthology of excellent poems and stories.
The anthology this year was based on several different ideas. We asked students to take their inspiration from Shakespeare or to incorporate another language into their story.
In the poetry we asked students to try to capture a significant moment in time – to create a vivid word picture.
It has been a pleasure to read all your work and the quality of writing made it very difficult to make a selection for publication.
The English Department
A story based on facts.
He is at it again, lecturing me about how I shouldn’t spend time with these silly dreams of mine but, instead, pay attention more to the crops and the animals. But I don’t want to. I want to be an astronaut! I know, it might seem silly, but I’m 15! I can make my own choices instead of letting my dad push me around.
“Son! Are you listening to me?”
“Yes, Dad,” I grumble.
“Good. Because now I want you to work extra on the farm because you’ve been playing with your stupid rocket toys, and not doing work!” He yells.
“They’re not toys, Dad! It’s a model of a rocket!” I yell back.
“I don’t care what it is, get to work!” He gives me a hard stare.
I stare back, without flinching, and then I turn away.
That night, I sneak outside. Cold rain is pouring from forests of clouds in the sky, but I don’t care. I take out my flying license and I get this crazy idea.
“I’ll fly to NASA,” I say to myself. But to do that, I would have to use a plane from my old flying school. As I wade through the tall grass, I look left and see the animals shivering in the confines of the barn.
“Goodbye,” I whisper quietly. I take my bike and ride to my flying school.
I see the airplane that I always used to use for flying lessons. It still looks exactly the same way it did when I left it. I get into it, remembering all of the good times I had with it. It’s a beauty, this one. It’s red, with a white stripe along the side, open cockpit. Only the best. Although I have to say, it’s a bit rusty. I start the engine; it comes to life with a cough. I ride along the runway and then glide into the sky with a soft whoosh.
But is it right, what I did? Stealing a plane from my flying school? I ask myself again and again while I slip through the clouds. Of course it is right, I tell myself. I have to do this, or else I will never get what I really want – to be an astronaut.
I am almost falling asleep when I see a large building on the horizon. As I get closer I realize that it is the NASA base! I give a quiet cheer.
It’s even better than I imagined. It has a test launch pad and everything. It’s great! I fly around in circles very low above the gray building, causing everyone inside to run out in a commotion. I think I can see Werner von Braun. He is the rocket scientist for NASA. He was a Nazi in the war but he is now in America. People are yelling and screaming. Above all the rest, I can hear von Braun shouting.
“Was machst du?"* Come down here, kid. You are disrupting ze satellites.”
They all make space as I bring the plane down to the ground. As I land, von Braun runs up to me and shouts, “What do you zink you are doing, little kid?”
“I want to go to space,” I say to him immediately. He stares at me with round eyes. “In one of your rockets, I mean.”
After recovering from the shock, his face becomes darker and he frowns.
“And vat makes you zink you can go to space, just because you ask me and give me ze Bambi eyes? Hmm?”
“Well, I thought because I have a flying license and…” But I don’t get to finish.
“Get out!” He yells.
I take the model rocket out of my pocket and throw it onto the ground in front of him. Then I walk away. I only turn back when I am about to get into my airplane. Only then do I see that von Braun had picked it up and is staring at it in wonder.
"You made zis?” he yells at me.
“Yes,” I mutter, feeling slightly proud of my work.
“But… ze proportions, ze detail… it’s amazing!”
“You really think so?” I ask.
“Yes, of course! Why didn’t I think of zis type of rocket?”
“Well, if you like it that much, you can keep it. If you want to, I mean.”
“Yes, yes,” he said, not paying much attention to what I say. “Come back in 10 years and ve vill talk about ze rocket flights. OK?”
A spark of hope flares inside me as he says that, and I feel like my dream could come true someday….
“By ze way, vat is your name again, boy?” he asks.
“Neil,” I say. “Neil Armstrong”
Luca, Grade 6
A Day to Remember
It was an ordinary day in Japan. The sun was shining but there was a cool chill as it was the middle of March. I went to our family farm and started planting rice. I wore my bamboo hat as I shoveled holes and stuck rice plants in the ground. Just then, the ground started rumbling, but not quite like the usual small earthquakes we get. This one was building, growing bigger and bigger. All the farmers around me were exchanging glances. They all had worried looks on their faces. Then I heard a yell, “Daremoga jikko shite kudasai!” (“Everybody run”!)
I waited to see what would happen. That’s when I saw an enormous wave coming for me and the farmers. It was washing down the rice field. We all ran, sprinting as fast as we could. I hoped my family was alright. What was I, a 14-year-old boy, supposed to do in the face of danger, but run? I ran, but not fast enough. I tried to look for a hill so the tsunami wouldn’t reach me, but it was just flat land everywhere I looked. I ran and ran but I couldn’t run anymore. I slowed down and the tsunami caught up with me and the other farmers. I was so exhausted from running that I just lay there in the flowing water, motionless. Eventually, I got stuck in what felt like mud and the tsunami flowed over my head. I lay in the mud unconscious. I must have been unconscious for 48 hours, because when I woke up it was March 13th, two days after the earthquake.
When I woke up, I was in the emergency ward. My parents were sitting there, my mom weeping into my father’s shoulder. I sat up and both my parents turned to look at me. They got up and hugged me. My mom started crying again, this time with joy. I tried standing up but immediately fell back down. My father went to get the doctor who tapped my knee with a rubber hammer to check my reflex. My leg didn’t move at all. The doctor asked me if I felt anything and I said "No".
The doctor took my parents out of the room. They were talking for about ten minutes. I heard my mom cry and when they came back in, the doctor told me that I would no longer be able to use my legs; that I was paralyzed from the waist down. He told me I must have banged into something. I do remember banging into something hard. When I looked down at my leg, it was swollen.
The doctor got me into a wheelchair and we went down to the hospital cafeteria. I saw people with broken body parts, people with bruises, people bleeding uncontrollably, people with burnt faces, burnt arms and legs.
After we left the hospital, the Red Cross sent us to Tokyo where we were provided with shelter. The city was different but I liked it. Growing up in the countryside, the city brought surprises and occasional aftershocks, but my family and I were grateful that we were provided with a home.
Olivia, Grade 6
English for Runaways
Otto woke with excitement for it was the day he was going to catch a flight to London. He was going to a summer camp to learn English. It was only six in the morning but he still had to hurry up and shower to catch the bus to the airport. He waved goodbye to his parents and stepped into the bus.
At the airport he grabbed his luggage and marched through to the check-in. The security check stopped him and he was forced to throw away his hair gel. He checked what gate he had to go to and he found that his flight was delayed by one hour. He realized that he had forgotten his English-German dictionary so he bought one at the airport.
Finally he could proceed to the plane. He found his seat and sat down. It was a British Airways flight so everything was in English. In the middle of the flight the stewardess came to his seat and asked, “Would you like to have a drink, Sir?”
Otto didn’t understand a word.
“Drink,” the stewardess tried to explain.
Otto took out his dictionary and looked up the word drink. The stewardess helped him. He said, “Kann ich einem Orangensaft bekommen? ”*
First the stewardess gave him a little giggle but then she poured him a glass of juice.
When he arrived at the airport he took the train to Paddington Station. He went up to ground level and tried to find the location of the English school. He went up to a man dressed in a business suit and asked for directions.
The man responded, “You go down this street until you see a flower shop, then you go left into Hill Street. Then it is the second building on the right.”
Otto just said, “Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof."**
Eventually he found his way to the school. He walked up to the reception and a nice lady said, “Hello, Mr. Schwarz.” The lady showed him to his classroom.
The teacher said, “Hello, Mr. Schwarz.”
Otto said, “Hello, my name is Otto and you can say du*** to me.”
The teacher explained, “In England, everyone simply says you.”
“Oh,” said Otto, very embarrassed.
After his English lesson he went sight-seeing. He wanted to see the Tower of London. But first he went to eat something. In the restaurant he opened the menu but he was helpless. He had no idea what it said.
He told the waitress, “I want typical English food.”
After some time the waitress brought him a plate of baked beans. Otto said, “What kind of eggs are these?”
The waitress just said, “Baked beans,” and walked away.
He wanted to see the crown jewels, but in front of the Tower of London alarms were going off and guards were running around in stress. He found out that the crown jewels had been stolen.
On the way back to school he saw a man dressed in a big white coat. Otto saw something shiny under his coat so he decided to follow him. On the way he saw a policeman. He ran straight up to him and reported the man. The policeman stopped the man immediately. When the man in the white coat saw the policemen he started running. He hopped onto a motorbike and drove away. The policeman stepped into his police car and pursued the robber. Finally the robber crashed into a street light and was imprisoned for lifetime and the jewels were safely returned.
Otto was invited to a meeting with the Queen. When Otto came into the room at Buckingham Palace, he went down on his knees as the guards guided him to do. Then he got up and sat down where the Queen was sitting. First the Queen thanked him for his duties and then they had a cup of tea. After that, the Queen took a sword and laid it on Otto’s left shoulder, then on his right shoulder and then on his head.
The Queen then said, “I name you as Otto the Knight.”
Otto just asked, “Why do I have to be Otto the Night? Why not Otto the Day?”
Constantin, Grade 6
*May I have an orange juice?
** I only understand the word for train station.
*** In German you address someone who is a friend as Du, but those you do not know well as Sie.
A Painful Memory
The old woman shuffled forward. Her body was racked with pain, agony, and suffering. Still, she held on to life with a persistent grip, determined not to slip into an endless sleep. A cry drew her out of her thoughts. Hurrying ahead, she peeked around a tall bush to see a young child sobbing on the ground, obviously in great pain. The old woman instinctively lifted her wrinkled hand to touch her scar on her right ear and thought about that day so long ago in the summer of 1946…
It was a bright, sunny day in the middle of July. My older brother, Fai Yen, and I excitedly loped about in the garden, chasing butterflies. Around midday, my parents returned, holding something in their hands. I clapped my hands together, and ran to them.
I couldn’t believe it. My parents had brought home a living, breathing playmate for my brother and four-year-old me! I finally had someone with whom I could amuse myself. He had thick, coarse black hair, brown eyes and a habit of tilting his head to the left. With the help of my parents, we nicknamed our new family member Rocky Chan….
…a ghost of a smile crossed the woman’s face, even though the action sent spikes of pain shooting through her body. That day she had been so unsuspecting, so unaware of the dangers of having Rocky Chan in their family.
One day, I came home from school annoyed. My American teacher, Miss Lillison had held me back after school, giving me a lecture about my behavior. Apparently, I was rude, and disobedient. I didn’t understand. She was the one with the problem. She was too boring.
Before dinner, I played “wolf" with Rocky in my room. We rolled towards each other from opposite sides and then crashed together in the middle of the room. After a while, it became a little tedious. We decided to make it more complicated. After crashing into each other, the one who had the fiercer wolf face would win. It was easy for Rocky; he was a German shepherd. All he had to do was bare his teeth, lift his ears, and growl. It was more challenging for me. I lifted my hands up for ears, opened my mouth and eyes, and pretended to bite Rocky. For a while, he played the game well. But he was just a puppy, and soon bit me in earnest.
I screamed, and burst into tears. Even as a puppy, he was twice my size, and before I knew it, his sharp, pointy teeth were sinking into my right ear, and then it was dangling down, and the blood was flowing…I blacked out.
The woman’s smile was long gone as she continued remembering. The days after the accident had been terrible. The endless shots to dull the pain, the countless doctors all in white, the many pills she had to take every day. The plastic surgery she hadn’t felt at all, because she lay senseless on the operating table. Gradually, over many days, she had recovered. Now, just a thick, jagged scar was visible, a painful memory of that dark day in 1946.
Anjuli, Grade 7
My flag rising,
my breath quickening,
This was it.
all was put aside.
The water looking harmless,
the buzz still ringing in my ears,
thinking of nothing but this race.
A million things crossed my mind,
but only one stayed.
I had won.
The pure gold loosely hanging around my neck.
All the power,
all the hours of training locked into this medal.
Charlotte, Grade 7
Red, white, blue swaying in front of me
My anthem ringing through my ears and into my heart.
My memory flashing,
thinking back at my race,
the buzzer still lingering in my head.
The water still gliding past my body.
Here I am.
Hand on my heart,
Clutching the medal.
Eline, Grade 7
I listen to myself loudly breathing,
to the cheering crowd
and to my heart beating.
I get down on the starting block
as the audience dies.
I look up one more time
before I close my eyes.
Suddenly, the sound of the gun,
I jump up and just run.
Now it’s adrenaline that makes me run
just a few more metres until I’m done.
I push myself and fly through the finish line,
oh gold victory, you’re mine.
Now it’s no longer dreaming.
Now I can start
John, Grade 7