Lots of positive feedback emboldened me to try a new, not quite finished, poem out in chalk, safe in the knowlege that spring rains would wash away this early version soon enough. I chalked it on the steps leading past my studio, which has allowed me to see it read in both directions (up and down the stairs) over and over again by groups of students, often reciting it aloud in unison, testing their tongues on the hard words (like self-propulsion and Ediacaran). Although it's not an easy poem the students have said they liked it (in both directions).
One girl had an original poem she could recite from memory so with the help of a friend put that on one flight of steps. A couple of others found an old teacher-teasing rhyme which they thought was hilarious so wrote and illustrated that alongside a short pathway. Isabel and I searched long and hard for a poem the right length that we liked and thought appropriate for school, finally settling on a Chinese anti-war poem (the Voices books are loaded with war/anti war poetry), and wrote it together, going up the stairs.
Part of the fun of chalk poetry is the slight frisson of it being almost illicit. Some of the students were nervous that they might get in trouble, and I promised it would be fine, but that I would take any rap if it came. However, the teachers coming through our creative space all expressed their delight, one even gave me a hug and said it was fabulous, which made all the girls relax.
Poetry on the hoof...For a couple of days, until the big rain started, every time I left the studio I would see girls reading poetry off the pavement as they walked from class to class.