War Horse poetry

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By Brenda Williams

Read a poem inspired by Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse and use it to inspire children to write their own poetry.

Previous Learning
  • Familiarity with Michael Morpurgo’s book ‘War Horse’.
  • Activity sheet, ‘The Great War’, taken from Read and Respond: War Horse.
  • Experience of listening to poems and discussing reactions and sharing views on the imagery created by the poem.

Shared understanding and interpretation of the poem

War Horse poem

  • Read the Poem, ‘War Horse’, to children without prior discussion. What are their first impressions?
  • Whose voice does the poet use for the poem?
  • How does this voice help them to empathise with its viewpoint and see the battle through its eyes?
  • Read it again, this time allowing children to follow the text on the photocopiable copy of the poem. What images does the poem conjure up for them?
  • Identify and expand on any unfamiliar words.
  • Which words most strongly set the scene of a battlefield?
  • Explain that the poem is a journey. It has a tense but silent beginning, followed by a terrifying course across no-man’s land before finally ending in the peaceful scene of the horse standing alone by a river.
  • Can children identify where in the poem this journey moves from the past tense to the present tense? Suggest that by doing so, the poet has added emphasis to the change in pace.
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