The Railway Children – Seamus Heaney
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!
Here the author read the poem…
The Railway Children
When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.
Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows.
We were small and thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,
Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled
We could stream through the eye of a needle.
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…
– Mr Tom.