Following a visit to the National Coal Mining Museum I spent an excellent morning doing a poetry workshop with a mixed class of year 3 and 4 pupils doing poems on the topic of mining. We focussed particularly on the experiences of the poor vistorian children in Britain who were forced to work down the mines, and tried to imagine the life they would have led. The visit helped immensely as poetry is so much about experiencing and feeling what you write, and so we used the senses as our focus to help us to think of things to write about.

We acted out a few basic elements of their job, and brainstormed ideas of what the children would see, hear, smell, touch and feel, including emotionally, and these are just a few of the children's fantastic poems that resulted from inspiring each other. You will recognise the same structure for all of the first few children's poems, each starting with the same words, yet ending up so different. For me, a poet who loves rhyme and rhythm and finds it difficult to recognise a poem if it doesn't rhyme, this type of structure makes free verse easier to understand as a format.

Coal Mine

An acrostic, by Aimee aged 9

N.b The poisonous gases were actually odourless to humans

Down the Mine

by Ellie aged 9

The children wrote so many excellent poems that it was hard to choose so few for this page. However, of those that were not chosen, there were some excellent ideas and examples of figurative language, so rather than waste these I have combined them in a rhyming poem based on the five senses. Follow this link for the resulting poem

Click on this link to go back to the

Here are the links to my own poems on the subject of mining.

This link will take you to more of Swinton Fitzwilliam's poems on various topics.