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Northmead Junior School

Northmead Junior School


That's How We Feel Young Again!

Please take a look and enjoy the results of our intergenerational community project between The Park Barn Poets and writers from Year 3, in spring/summer 2022. This was facilitated by the poet Justin Coe who bought incredible energy and inspiration to the project. Justin’s positivity and joy was infectious and underpins the wonderful poems and letters written by the children and the residents.

Poems written by The Park Barn Poets and writers from Year 3, Northmead Junior School in spring/summer 2022

Compiled and Edited by Justin Coe


It was my enormous pleasure to work with a wonderful group of older people and staff at The Hive (Park Barn Day Centre), in Guildford, and then with the brilliant Year 3 children and teachers at Northmead Primary School, to help facilitate the poetry and letter writing that would help bring the groups from the differing generations closer together.

I ran seven sessions with the older writers at Park Barn and another seven sessions with Northmead’s Class 3B, plus additional workshops with two other year 3 classes (3N and 3S) at the school. Every week the Park Barn and the Northmead poets listened to the poems produced by their older or younger counterparts and responded to the work they had heard to develop the creative conversation - and ultimately this collection of work that follows in this PDF booklet.

Towards the very end of the project, eight children from the school were chosen to visit the older people and take part in a special sharing session where games were played, face to face conversations took place, new poems were written, and the best work performed and celebrated. Amongst our work, another poem was shared, a poem titled “Happiness” that was written by ninety-one year old participant Sonia when she was ten years old and a war-time evacuee.

This project was delivered between May and July 2022, just over two years on from the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown which had made intergenerational contact (and all types of interpersonal communication) extremely challenging. Just like Sonia’s teachers in a time of war, we decided to try to raise spirits by focussing on the themes of hope and positivity, while giving some space for us all to reflect on the difficult times we had endured.

What follows are just some of the fabulous poems and letters that were written by groups and individuals that participated with such great generosity, positivity and joy. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed being part of this project.

Justin Coe

Poet/Project Facilitator


Most of the work included has been written collectively within the groups credited. Some individual works have also been selected and credited where I could find a name attached to the work. There was not space for all of the brilliant individual poems written by the young people, but I have selected a few at random, so as to reflect and record the diversity of what was produced overall.

This project would not have been possible without financial support from Guildford Borough Council and the administrative skills of Briony Impett and her predecessor Willow Cobby of Guildford’s Wellbeing Team.

I must thank Alison Rice, Fiona, Amanda and all the staff at The Hive for their enthusiastic support of the project (and participation in it!) throughout. Enormous thanks are due to Wendy Cook for coordinating my involvement within the school (and for providing me with transport in between venues!) and to all the fantastic year 3 teachers, especially Jo Backhurst who brilliantly enabled and built on my weekly work with her class, 3B, every week throughout the project.

The biggest thanks of all, of course, goes to the young participants of Northmead Junior and the not quite so young participants of The Hive, who included - Sonia, Sandy, Sue, Catriona, Keith, Linda, Jean, two Joans, two Colins, Mary, Valerie, Audrey, Malcolm, Wolfie and Betty.


Section 1 - POETRY PARTY!

Poetry Party (after Zaro Weil)

When the jelly is together with its wobbly belly, it is one

When the Christmas cake is together with its holy, it’s one

When the cracker is together with its bang, it’s one

When the present is together with its wrapping, it’s one

When the chocolate biscuit is together with the cream, it’s one

When the orange is together with the water, it’s one

When the magic is together with its sparkle, it’s one

When the moon is together with the disco, it’s one

When the champagne is together with its bubbles, it’s one

When the older poets are together with the young, we are one!

Written by the older and younger writers together


Poetry Is

Lots of words that rhyme

Or maybe a few words that don’t

Poetry is

Like a song

Catchy words that get caught in your head

Like “She sells seashells on the seashore”

Poetry can talk about cake, teachers and toilets

Poetry can talk about more than cake, teachers and toilets

Poetry can be part of your family

Poetry can express how you feel

And you can write poetry really fast

Or you write poetry r-e-a-l-l-y v-e-r-y s - l - o - w - l - y

Class 3N


Poetry is as Surprising as…

Poetry is as surprising as…

Eating sweets in the classroom

Saying hello to a husky in the Himalayas

And reading a book in the swimming pool

Poetry is as surprising as…

Watching my hamster with a peanut

A dragon on the toilet browsing a newspaper

Or going downstairs to a dinosaur

Poetry is as surprising as…

Living up in the clouds

Owning a pet Floppa

And a fish with legs

Poetry is as surprising as…

A rabbit leaping from building

                                                   to building

                                                                      Like Spider-Man

Class 3B



If We Could See Hope

If we could see hope

It would be as colourful as a rainbow

It would be like a football player holding up a diamond trophy

Or like poppies on a roundabout Blowing in a breeze

If we could hear hope

We would hear

The birds tweeting

The cats purring

And the morning rooster roaring

Cock-a-doodle doo!

If we could smell hope

It would smell like

All the flowers in the fields

All the sweets in the candy shop

And all the forever fresh-air future

If we could touch hope

It would sometimes be as soft and squishy as a marshmallow

Sometimes as smooth as paper

And sometimes as bumpy as rock

If we could taste hope

It would taste like an orchid

Of juicy apples, peaches, and KFC!

And if hope could talk

It would say

Hello, I am hope

I wish you beauty

Class 3B


Hope is…

(created from a game of consequences)

Hope is something with a tail that plays with toys

Hope is something you can play with on a consol

Hope is something that has pages

Hope is something I got when I was born

Hope is something that you get taught by

Hope is something that you can dance with on your feet

Hope is something you eat

Hope sleeps all day and is up all night

Hope is something you can colour and sketch in

Hope is something that purrs

Hope is something that’s fluffy or scaly

Hope is something that can be small or big

Hope is something with big bunches that you can dress up

Hope is something I put on my feet to run

Hope is something that has food inside

Hope is something that you are good at

Hope has a spine, pages and a cover

Hope is made of paper and tells stories

Hope is round and you can kick it

Hope is something that is not alive

Hope is something that is fluffy and cute

Hope is something you can cuddle

Hope is something you can play on fortnite

Hope is when I cross my fingers

Class 3N


Section 3 -  THE JOY SHOP

Joy is…

Joy is a toy with long pointy ears

Joy is fluffy and soft but loves tug of war

Joy is what I adore, and I get to kick it

Joy is a shoe with wheels

Joy is beautiful but hard to find underground

Joy is something I give my Mum every morning to show her I love her

Joy is a fierce animal Joy makes me want to smash my controller

Joy barks and chews bones

Joy is playful, energetic and cute

Joy can go 285 miles an hour on the road

Joy has 890 horsepower

Joy is something you can play with

Joy is something you can write with

Joy is something you can colour with

Joy is something you can cuddle at night when you are scared

Joy has four legs

Joy has a beak

Joy has a screen

Joy helps you to sleep

Joy is something you can snuggle when you are sad You can cuddle

Joy all night long

Class 3B

Try more, learn more, achieve more!