by Katie Hale
We named words the way a god will name his creations.
We named them things and describing words,
and talked about how run and jump and eat
were all actions. Then we marvelled
at the activeness of sit and breathe and be.
We said table words for the things we could touch
and cloud words for the ones we couldn’t –
although we recognised that cloud was not a cloud word
but a table word, and one boy described
walking up Scafell Pike last winter with his dad
and the cold breath of water on their faces.
We identified alliteration as same letter words,
then wrote sentences with a nest of snakes
threaded through them. Plosives became explosives
as fireworks popped on our lips.
We agreed that bridges let us cross
from one part of a sentence to another,
and though we did not mention asyndeton, one girl
said that sometimes there were no bridges
and readers leapt from thought to thought like goats
across a mountain stream.
Another talked about rhythm
(I did not make her say meter) and how sometimes
it was in twos like walking and sometimes
triple like a runaway train.
And we called metaphors cheddar moons
(because the moon is a wheel of yellow cheese)
and did not distinguish similes, except to say
that they were like cheddar moons,
and a girl at the back confessed
she could not understand the difference – though later
she wrote that quietness was an eagle circling,
her heart like a bird taking flight.