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Random ingredients Back

These two astonishingly polished pieces were written in about 20 minutes by two students whose stimulus was a set of random ingredients provided by their friends.


The friends were told :

• Choose a number between 6 and 20 (eg 15)
• Choose a number between 1 and 100 (eg 30)
• Choose a colour, a mood,
a kind of weather,  a place , an animal
and a word you don’t use very often.


The writers were told :

The first number is the number of lines your poem should have.

All the other choices have to be in your poem.


Amy and Hyun Hua were given different ingredients and it is measure of their skill that they not only seamlessly integrate them into the poem – nothing leaps out at you to say ‘this doesn’t belong’ - but they also give the poems purpose and shape. This is not everyday English lesson writing!

Interestingly both girls repeat the number (coincidentally 88 and 89!) though for very different reasons and effect.

Could you do as well? Here are your ingredients:



Random Ingredients


Clara is giving me a hard time.

She is in the garden, planting thyme.

I have been hollering at her for the past three hours

Yet she is relaxedly gardening, smelling the flowers.

I have sent my puppy out

to chase her into the house.

Nothing has worked, neither monkey nor mouse.

I created some drizzle,

spraying her with my blue hose.

Although she’s soaked,

she has not ceased admiring her rose!

88 times I have called her by name

88 times she ignored me the same.

Well, enough!

I perambulated into the garden

And dragged her out by the arm.

It worked!

Amy Lin, 6.6


For 89 summer days

Children will sing and dance in the summer grass

The birds will wake up and spread their wings

Bursts of laughter will fill the parks

Vibrant flowers will bloom

Sunlight shine through the foliage of trees.


For 89 winter days

Mothers will keep children to their chests
to avoid the biting cold

Stray dogs whimper and slink into cardboard boxes

The homeless rub their hands

Babies tears freeze on their cheeks

But they are suddenly interrupted

by spring awakening.  

Song Hyun Hua, 6.6