2021: poems written by schoolchildren

In 2021, The Poetry Society sent poets Coral Rumble and Cheryl Moskowitz into four schools near Trafalgar Square: Gateway Academy, Our Lady of Dolours, St Mary of the Angels and St Saviour’s Church of England School. They ran poetry workshops with Years 5 and 6, learning about the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, and writing new poems speaking in its voice, inspired by its journey from Oslo to London. We’re delighted to share some of those poems with you below. Taking their lead, why not write your own poem inspired by this year’s poem, ‘The Fourth King’ by Sinéad Morrissey? Or if you’re a teacher, why not book a poet to visit your school today?

Cheryl Moskowitz and Coral Rumble touching elbows and grinning, with the three children smiling
Cheryl Moskowitz, Coral Rumble and three children from St Saviour’s Church of England Primary School. Photo: Hayley Madden for The Poetry Society.

Waiting

by Year 5s at Gateway Academy, with the help of Coral Rumble

I stand in a kingdom of pinewood and snowflakes.
Independent, in soil as black as coal,
A dancer in the breeze, catching the light of the sun.
My roots, as strong as steel, stretch deep into the earth,
Beyond the ground’s surface, hard with winter’s ice.

A bird lands, as quiet as a hunting fox,
Upon my hair, as sharp as splinters.
I catch snowflakes to weave into a coat –
A pyramid of white angel wings.

Waiting, waiting,
for a chilly dawn of change,
When I will soak in city sun,
Next to statued lions without life,
With my tower-long lights, sprinkling sparkle,
With my white star poking the sky
In a kingdom of cash.

Waiting, waiting,
With wind slipping through emerald needles,
Like a pack of angry wolves.
The clock is ticking.

Memory Catcher

by Year 6s at Our Lady of Dolours Primary School, with the help of Coral Rumble

I am the light dangler
The sky ascender,
People stand in awe,
Shelter from the wind
In my shadow.

My barky arms wave,
I am the eye-catching juggler
The sparkle dispenser of Christmas.

Raindrops fall on me,
Drip
Drop
Drip
Drop,
Unlike the frost
That coated my body
In a forest kingdom
Where the sky
Spat snowflakes.

I am the memory catcher
Of past Christmases,
Scraping the sky
With my prickly fingers.

I am not a bauble swinger
Or tinsel wearer,
I wear a crown and stand tall
Proud to be the brightest light
In a square in London Town.

Look at Me!

by the Swans Class at St Mary of the Angels Primary School, with the help of Cheryl Moskowitz

Look at me World!
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

As you stand there so stern and solitary I will give you air to brush through your leaves
I give you vast vivacious space to grow and provide home for other creatures
From the dense ground I will spring flowers flourishing into luscious green
My blue ocean waves carry life and will bring it up from the depths for you
I hold you, Tree, and dress you in ornaments of light as you deliver majestic joy to all

Look at me Earth!
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

My wind high-fives me, it will high-five you too!
My ocean will lay down its gritty pebbly floor as if it were a blanket
My fire will swirl at my centre and contain you like a translucent lamp
in the endless maze of trees where deer will leap over your spruce logs
and rolling ponds where butterflies show off their uniquely patterned wings

Look at me Air!
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

I am the air bringing raging ravishing wind to rustle your fingers
I am the air, you can gaze at the planes that soar through me above your crown
I am the air, I bring you white fluffy clouds to float majestically in the sky
You can marvel at my diminutive insects as they flap their petite wings relentlessly
I am part of the elements, I hope these gifts will give you satisfaction

Look at me North Sea!
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

Icy water as clear as windows
Ocean water to tickle your toes
Penguins that swim round and round
Watery tears that well up and roll down
in circles around your trunk

Look at me Ocean!
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

Tree, we are the ocean
Our waves will always carry you
We’ve always been with you
Side by side gazing at the celestial stars
You will be safe on your journey to Trafalgar Square.

Look at me Fire!
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

I stood as tall as you once, Tree
until the breeze gave me breath to grow
I am a burning ball of smoke, a burning flame of light
I am a mini torch in the sky, everyone who sees me fills with joy
I belong to you, and you are a part of me, I am a star.

Christmas lights
Beautiful
Shiny
Sparkly
Crystal bright!
Look at me Children!
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

We are the children of the planet
We are the children of God
We give you hope and a place to call home
We will keep you safe in your dark winter sleep
With every bell that rings, every drum that beats
We sing a song of love from our holy hearts.

Look at Me! 

by Year 6s at St Saviour’s Church of England School, with the help of Cheryl Moskowitz

Look at me Air
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

I’ll give you my breath
as I watch you sparkle under the gleaming moon
I’ll surround you until your death
Take myself as an offering
An offering for you

Look at me Fire
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

Like you I can grow as tall as a spire
I burn up crops but don’t distress
when I retire my nutrients will help you grow higher and higher
When my life ends, yours begins.

Look at me Water
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

I am the moisture that flies in the breeze
I am the nectar that feeds the trees
The gift I will give to you, dear Tree,
is the gift of water, pure and free
Everywhere you look, I am what you see.

Look at me Earth
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

I am protective, rich and nurturing
Looking after you from the day you were a seed
Giving you everything you need
I will continue to support you here and there
I am your foundation everywhere.

Look at me Universe
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

I am the Universe – my planets hear your call
We have a blessing for you after all

We all see your talent, your absolute shine
you’ll give everyone a merry Christmas time

Your fresh pine spell puts us under a spell
As we listen to the seasonal bells

The gift we give is to never suffer strife
You too will live a very merry life

Look at me People
I am but a tree
I have given myself to you
What will you give to me?

You stand so tall and high
Snowflakes fall gracefully on your branches
We see your lights shining
We give you our attention.

Find free downloadable poetry teaching resources inspired by the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree here.