SPEECH FESTIVAL: Dear Mum – Brian Patten

Speech 2012 Festival Poem: Dear Mum – Brian Patten

This video is a pronunciation guide for the Hong Kong 2012 Speech Festival poems – it is to demonstrate articulation only, performers should decide on how to deliver the poem!

Dear Mum

While you were out
A cup went and broke itself,
A crack appeared in the blue vase
Your great-great grandad
Brought back from Mr Ming in China.
Somehow, without me even turning on the tap,
The sink mysteriously overflowed.
A strange jam-stain,
About the size of a boy’s hand,
Appeared on the kitchen wall.
I don’t think we will ever discover
Exactly how the cat
Managed to turn on the washing-machine
(especially from the inside),
or how Sis’s pet rabbit went and mistook
the waste-disposal unit for a burrow.
I can tell you I was scared when,
As if by magic,
A series of muddy footprints
Appeared on the new white carpet.
I was being good
but I think the house is haunted so,
knowing you’re going to have a fit,
I’ve gone over to Gran’s for a bit.

Here are a few useful tips…

  • Make sure you understand your poem. Ask for help if there are any words you don’t know. Think about when and where the poem is set. What is the message? The meaning?
  • Try to find out about the author.
  • Make sure you can remember your poem well. Read it aloud, practice at home, write it down and learn it line-by-line, piece-by-piece. Perform your poem for your mom, dad, helper, grandparents, cat, dog, me – anyone who will listen.
  • Use expression and intonation carefully. This means you should show some emotion and use your voice to match your poem. Express the exciting parts, sad parts and happy parts. However, don’t get over-excited and try to keep your body and hands still – most judges do not like actions or body language.
  • Take breaks, relax, don’t be nervous. Take a deep breath before reading!
  • Go to howjsay.com for help with pronunciation or download this video as an MP3 to your computer/ipod/phone.
  • Find more tips and advice here: http://bit.ly/R0nVwJ and here.

Below is a 2010 presentation on the Hong Kong Speech Festival, shared with permission from HKU’s Gary Harfitt…

Good luck!

– Mr Tom.

Speech Festival 2012