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A HEADINGTON schoolgirl’s ‘brilliant’ poem about a 4,000-year-old vase in the Ashmolean Museum has been made into a short film and published today.
Shakira Morar’s verse, The Cracked Jug, was transformed into the short by The Poetry Society and is officially unveiled today for World Poetry Day.
The 18-year-old Headington School student, who recites her own words in the film, said she was delighted by how director Suzanne Cohen had interpreted the ode.
She said: “I’m really, really happy with how it came out. I came up with the concept and drew a little story board, then there came a point in the process where I couldn’t have anymore input.
Shakira Morar pictured with the Ashmolean Museum's near east curator Paul Collins and the cracked jug which inspired her verse.
“But, after seeing the results, that is absolutely fine.
“The main message came through and Suzanne added little touches which I thought were really effective, like where there is a line saying ‘concern pulling him from the present’, she has a girl sewing and pulling at threads, and I thought that was really powerful.”
Shakira wrote her poem as part of an Oxford competition called Poetry for Peace.
The year-long, Arts Council-funded project was run by Iraqi poet Adnan al-Sayegh and Oxford poet Jenny Lewis.
They invited 60 children from Oxford Spires Academy, the Sudanese Saturday School, Headington School and Cherwell School to spend a day at the Ashmolean Museum and write poems inspired by artefacts in the Near East Gallery around themes of ‘heritage’ and ‘peace’.
The two poets hopes to build links between the English and Arabic-speaking communities in Oxford.
Shakira, who was eventually crowned the winner with the prize of having her verses made into a ‘film poem’, recalled how she picked her subject.
Shakira pictured with Poetry for Peace organisers Jenny Lewis and Adnan Al-Sayegh at the Ashmolean Museum.
“When I saw the jug I was attracted by how neatly it was presented: it looked so homely I could just imagine it in someone’s home.
“Everyone has objects in their life like this which they treasure, and I just thought it is so sad when these things are destroyed in war.”
Shakira’s poem imagines the jug first being used by a girl to collect water before a cataclysmic event strikes her village, leaving the pot with a crack that would stay with it for the next 4,000 years.
Judith Palmer, of the Poetry Society, who judged the Poetry for Peace contest, said Shakira’s verse was an ‘open, spacious and subtle poem that proved incredibly memorable’. It met the brief brilliantly.”
Shakira, who hopes to study English literature at university, said the experience had definitely encouraged her to pen more poetry.
The top five poems have all been translated into Arabic and will be published in the Poetry for Peace 2016 Anthology by the Foreign Office.