Y10 Poetry Across Time Checking out me history

Checking Out Me History
John Agard
Think: What influences our identity?
• Mind map as many names, dates and places
you can think of from your History lessons.
• For example:
– Hitler
– 1066
– King Henry VIII
– Shakespeare
Dem tell me
Dem tell me
Wha dem want to tell me
Bandage up me eye with me own history
Blind me to me own identity
Dem tell me bout 1066 and all dat
dem tell me bout Dick Whittington and he cat
But Toussaint L’Ouverture
no dem never tell me bout dat
a slave
with vision
lick back
and first Black
Republic born
Toussaint de thorn
to de French
Toussaint de beacon
of de Haitian Revolution
Dem tell me bout de man who discover de balloon
and de cow who jump over de moon
Dem tell me bout de dish ran away with de spoon
but dem never tell me bout Nanny de maroon
see-far woman
of mountain dream
fire-woman struggle
hopeful stream
to freedom river
Dem tell me bout Lord Nelson and Waterloo
but dem never tell me bout Shaka de great Zulu
Dem tell me bout Columbus and 1492
but what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too
Dem tell me bout Florence Nightingale and she
and how Robin Hood used to camp
Dem tell me bout ole King Cole was a merry ole soul
but dem never tell me bout Mary Seacole
From Jamaica
she travel far
to the Crimean War
she volunteer to go
and even when de British said no
she still brave the Russian snow
a healing star
among the wounded
a yellow sunrise
to the dying
Dem tell me
Dem tell me wha dem want to tell me
But now I checking out me own history
I carving out me identity
TASK: Individually complete the table on
the poem, finding evidence in the poem to
support the given statements.
Challenge: In the last box, write your own
statement about the poem and support
with evidence.
The speaker is angry that Black culture and
history has been neglected.
The speaker implies that the history he has
been taught is a fiction.
The poem makes clear that cultural
transmission (the passing on of knowledge
about culture and history) starts at a very
early age.
The poet values the qualities of
independence and courage.
The poet is careful to use humour to make his
point in a non-threatening way.
The poem suggests that the process of
education involves passive people being
bombarded with information by those who
have power and/or authority.
The poem equates ‘identity’ with knowledge
of your own cultural and racial roots.
The poem can be interpreted as encouraging
self-empowerment and pride in one’s culture.
Evidence from the poem to support my ideas about this
TASK: Compare ‘Ozymandias’ and ‘Checking out me History’ in a Venn
diagram. Think about the themes of history, power and heritage.
Remember to include notes for AO2 (form, structure and language).
Venn Diagram: ‘Ozymandias’ on one side, ‘Checking Out Me History’ in
another and points for both poems in the middle
TASK: Write down what you have learnt today
on a post-it note, share it with your partner and
bring it to the board.
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