Sir William Borlase's Grammar School

Poetry Evening - 20 March

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Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, Wednesday 20 March saw our second Borlase Poetry Evening in the drama studio, a celebration of poetry at the school. The first half of the evening saw the finals of the Key Stage 3 Poetry by Heart competition, to select winners for each year and the 3 students to be entered for the national competition. The capacity audience was treated to some fantastic performances, including Year 7 Elizabeth Rayner’s engaging recital of Wordsworth’s Lines Written in Early Spring, Year 8 Rachel Townley’s heartfelt The Bluebell and Year 9 Eloise Whyte’s captivating recital of Rossetti’s Cousin Kate. After lengthy negotiation, the judges, Mr Goodall, Ms Harris and Ms Holmes managed to agree on winners and runners-up:
Year 7                        
Winner: Aurora Taylor    
 Runner-up: Dexter Seaton    

Year 8

Winner: Poppy Pleming-Evans
Runner-up: Jack Berry
Year 9
Winner: Thara Paidipati
Runner-up: Oliver Bridgen

The three Year winners will be entered for the national competition which will be judged in April, for the chance to compete at the national final event at the Globe Theatre on 1 July.

After the interval, the audience was treated a recital of Browning’s macabre Porphyria’s Lover by Year 10 Ella Barford and two choral recitals by Year 8 students - Mia Mills and Anna Cilliers gave an animated performance of Blake’s The Tyger and Shreya Telfer, Jenna Elliot and Zeynep Cosan gave a powerful rendition of Dorothea Smartt’s Shake My Future, showing just how effective a choral performance can be at bringing a poem to life.

The spotlight then moved onto the school’s own poets, with the final of the Bard of Borlase poetry competition. Finalists Kieran Clayton, Allegra Sprankling and Anabelle Rayner read their poems on the theme Borlase before Mr Goodall and Ms Harris announced the results and Anabelle Rayner (Year 10) was awarded the Bard’s chair for 2023. Her poem is printed below, and, as Bard of Borlase, she will be writing more poems during the year. 

The evening ended with performances by our entrants into the ESU’s Performing Shakespeare competition, Shreya Telfer and Aarisha Band (Year 8), performing a scene from King Lear, and Oliver Bridgen (Year 9) who rounded off the evening with a rousing rendition of Henry V’s Once more unto the breach, dear friends.
The whole evening was a delightful celebration of poetry and performance at Borlase. Thank you to all our brilliant performers and to Ms Lewington-Chislett and the Year 12 Tech Theatre team who staged the event efficiently and effectively.

The walls do talk here,
Cracked stone and marred brick,
Constant, yet ever changing,
As they sit, observers and storytellers,

The song they whisper holds
Names lost to time, but not to earth,
And the triumphs of their days,
They sing their gift,
The gift of life preserved,

They wear remains
Of past and present,
Old imperfections, new stories, 
A crumbled cracked construction,
Broken with life,
Of those no longer,
As they announce what was

But inattentive eyes,
Leave only dull recognition,
Of the familiar;

We are lucky to have that honour,
To see the mundane in the beauty,
When beauty becomes constant,
But still, souls recognise each other,

If you hold your heart to the buildings,
It will beat back,
And your senses know the privilege, 
To be guided by yesterday,
Onwards to tomorrow,
And to follow something as worthy as before

Anabelle Rayner
Bard of Borlase 2024