“Who’s there… ?” by J.R.Poulter  

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Who’s there… ?

 

The wind howls. 

Tree knuckles rap. 

Long fingered twig hands

Tap. Tap. Tap…

 

Hours slide

Down the walls.

Moonlight pools

Where teardrops fall.

 

Sheets bind tight,

Having care

No one escapes

Nightmares.

 

“Who’s outside?

Who’s there…?”

Standing beside you,

A shadowy fear.

 

Am I sleeping?

Did I wake?

Is this the form

That bad dreams take?

 

What’s that rustle…?

Pad, pad, pad,

“It’s okay, honey!”

It’s Mum and Dad!

 

TEACHER NOTES:

This rhyming poem deals with irrationality of some childhood fears, using poetic devices, which include transferred epithet, onomatopoeia, internal rhyme, alliteration and consonance.  Other fears can be based on superstitions, or on some historical antecedents or cultural based taboos.

Hilaire Belloc’s cautionary tales use  fear tinged with humor to warn against certain behaviors.  Grimm’s Fairy Tales have been described as cautionary tales using  the horror of the unknown to warn children away from potential danger. 

Discussion: Do such ‘cautionary tales’ have that effect today on modern children? Are there modern examples of cautionary tales? Name some.

Activity: Rewrite a poem by Hilaire Belloc as a prose story OR retell a Grimm’s Fairy Tale as a narrative verse story. Use some of the poetic devices used in “Who’s there…?” in your retelling.

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