Pupils’ war poems inspire anthology

The horror of the trenches has been brought vividly to life in a poetry anthology penned by children.

Logan Chan, William Wilson, Ashley Forrest and Kayleigh Louise Reid with the book. Picture: Julie Bull

Inspired by the works of Wilfred Owen and the play War Horse, their creative endeavours have been transformed into a glossy book.

Stolen Lives includes more than 100 poems from Forthview Primary School pupils complete with illustrations.

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Headteacher Eileen Littlewood was so impressed with their work that she felt it deserved a wider audience and sought a publisher.

She said: “I was blown away with the quality of the similes, the imagery and pathos.

“The pupils are very talented writers and thanks also to their excellent teachers, they’ve succeeded in writing very beautiful, atmospheric poems.”

The pupils were inspired to write the verses after watching War Horse at the Festival Theatre earlier this year.

Author Mary Turner Thomson, who helped to transform the poems into a book, said the project not only taught the children about the sacrifices of war but also boosted self-esteem, and fostered a lifelong interest in books.

“I was very impressed and felt the pupils had put a lot of effort and emotions into their contributions,” she said.

“This project has been a reminder of the horrors the people in the war went through. It’s good that a new generation of children is inspired to think about their sacrifice 100 years on.”

The title was thought up by P7 pupil Demmi-Leigh Brammer in a workshop session.

She said: “I thought of the title because the soldiers were killed by complete strangers as if their lives were being stolen from them.”

Logan Chan, 11, wrote The Horrific War from the point of view of a war horse. “It describes how bad and how horrible the war was,” he said.

Students from Edinburgh College of Art submitted some illustrations, but also helped pupils develop their own work.

Some of the poems were read out yesterday at the Festival Theatre by actors from the critically-acclaimed wartime play Regeneration.

The book, which costs £7.99, is available from the school and the Festival Theatre.

Proceeds from the 55 published copies will be split between Forthview and Poppyscotland, raising a total of £220 for each.

Emma Baxter, of Poppyscotland, said: “We are very grateful to Forthview Primary School for supporting us.

“Encouraging young people to learn about Remembrance and the poppy is an important part of our work and we 
congratulate the pupils on their hard work in creating this anthology.”

The book’s release coincides with Historic Scotland launching new school project Learning about Scotland’s First World War.

A Sad Day in the War

Grenades flying through skies,

Orange gunshots blinding eyes,

Smoke blowing in the air,

Troops wounded beyond repair.

Troops falling to the ground,

Bombs making lots of sound,

Guns howling when men are shot,

Cannons smoking when are hot.

Lots of horses falling,

All soldiers crawling,

Soldiers feeling butterflies,

Hoping no-one dies.

Wounded soldiers cry in fear,

Lonely mothers shed a tear,

Little kids pray all day,

For their dad to be on his way.

James Hulford