In this new section of Humansing Language Teaching we intend to publish poems and songs by people involved in the ELT enterprise.
The first poem, Terre Natale ( Home Land ), is written by an exile through marriage. Sophie was born and bred French ( though of an English mother) and then lived 40 married years in UK and brought up three children in a UK way.
In the second poem, Summersaults, Franz Andres Morrissey of the University of Berne, CH, reflects on the oddity of literature departments full of critics but with not a creative writer among them. His line chimes with that of the DUET group, based in the University of East Anglia in Norwich.
In the third poem, Porcupine, John Morgan reflects on the extraordinary creativity of self-perception.
(see below for translation into English )
Je ne puis rester
O terre natale
dont je suis issue,
tu me rejettes,
et je te rejette,
je suis devenue;
je ne sais
quelle est ma
ou je serai enterree,
la sera mon pays,
le calme du ciel
je ne te reverrai jamais
alors que je reve de toi
en ces jours raccourcis.
I can neither stay
From which I come,
You reject me
And I reject you
A stranger in your land
I have become;
I do not know
Which is my land,
Maybe my tomb will know,
The place where I am buried,
There will be my land,
The sky's calm
Will have become
Goodbye ever-lasting France,
I shall never see you again
though I dream of you
in these drawn-in days.
Franz Andres Morrisey, University of Berne, Switzerland
Summersaults are of interest academically,
That much cannot be denied.
There's an institute at our university,
where their studied, pure and applied.
The head is a respected authority
who's well-read, if a tiny bit fat.
He can extemporise lectures on "Summersaults
in Antiquity" at the drop of a hat.
The chair of Summersault Theory
has published papers that few could refute,
save some unorthodoxies on back summersaults
which are at the heart of a heated dispute.
The pro-tempore assistant professor's
cutting-edge postmodernism's shit hot;
he won't talk to the historical summersault fellow,
whose Freudian Marxism is not.
On the other side of the corridor
Two assistants and a full-time researcher
are investigating the fundamental issues
like "Summersaults, nature or nurture?"
To launch a world-wide debate and put
the institute on the map there's a scheme
for an international conference in May
to discuss summersaults in high academe.
There's also an interdisciplinary workgroup
with a project whose approach is brand new.
They're looking at the ethnographic dimensions
of "Summersaults, the socio-cultural view
There's a contention that is really serious,
so much so it may one day cause a schism,
And that is the role of the summersault
Some discussions are as yet still sidelined,
and one of them's a real biggie (oh brother!);
Sparks will fly when the issue is finally raised,
if back summersaults're-deconstruct as "The Other".
Some have asked, can these guys turn a summersault?
But you can bet your bottom Euro or dollar,
Something like that would not enter their mind
'cause ir's infra dig for a serious scholar.
One day Porcupine caught sight of himself in a pool and started wondering why his friends always seemed so nervous around him, and never came close enough for him to hug them properly. " It can't be my conversation" he thought, "and I don't think I have bad breath, It must be the quills- they're frightened they might damage my beautiful quills if they come too close."
So Porcupine went down to the muddiest place he could find and rolled about until he was all covered in mud and not one of his quills could be seen.
And then he went off to find his friends……