Approaches to unseen poetry
Specific words and phrases


Look at this student’s annotations. Drag and drop them to where you think they were put in the poem. Read the poem several times. Drag and Drop the annotations into the positions you think they were originally in. Click the CHECK button to see how many you’ve got right. Press ORIGINAL to see how the student originally completed the annotations and discuss with a learning partner. Do you agree? How would you develop them? What would you add?

Read the poem a few times and then highlight the correct words and phrases by clicking and dragging the cursor over selected text. The link to the boxes around the edge of the screen by using the pen tool to draw lines.

Now have a go at highlighting AND writing in the annotations. Complete, print and compare with a learning partner.



Rejection is orange
Not, as one might think,
Grey and nondescript.
It is the vivid orange of
A council worker's jacket.
A coat of shame that says
'he doesn't want you.'
Rejection tastes like ashes
Acrid, bitter.
It sounds
Like the whisper of voices
Behind my back.
'He didn't want her.
He dumped her.'
It feels
Like the scraping of fingernails
On a blackboard,

Not ache or stab of pain
But like having a layer of skin missing.
Rejection looks like – me,
I suppose.

Slightly leftover
Like the last, curled sandwich
When all the guests
Have gone.

Jenny Sullivan

Title suggests looking back.


Sounds desperate.

Willing to change.

Will do anything to keep her.

He’s deeply upset.

First Love

I knew it had to come. I couldn't bear
it then; can't take it now. I'll make amends.
I'm willing to agree, now. So – be fair,
There's no need to split up. We'll just be friends.

Like you suggested. Not see quite so much
of each other. Please! I agree. You're right.
I made too much of what we had. Been such
a fool. I'll take the blame. We'll start tonight
-The New Improved Regime. We'll both be free

to do just as we want – the adult way.
I'll do just as you want me to. You'll see.
I'm willing to do anything you say.
I promise. I won't make a scene. Won't cry.
If you'll do just one thing. Don't say goodbye.

Mick Gowar

Deeply personal poem.

Still hurts even though it’s in the past.


Willing to blame himself.

They sound young.

Years Ago

It was what we did not do that I remember,
places with no markers left by us,
All of a summer, meeting every day,
A memorable summer of hot days,
Day after day of them, evening after evening.
Sometimes we would laze

Upon the river-bank, just touching hands
Or stroking one another's arms with grasses.
Swans floated by seeming to assert

Their dignity. But we too had our own Decorum in the small – change of first love.

Nothing was elegiac or nostalgic,
We threw time in the river as we threw
Breadcrumbs to an inquisitive duck, and so
Day entered evening with a sweeping gesture,
Idly we talked of food and where to go.

This is the love that I knew long ago.
Before possession, passion, and betrayal.

Elizabeth Jennings.

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