A Daydream’s Fancies

A Daydream’s Fancies

Take me afar where the moon rides nigh

And stars sit on my fingers.

Fly me away from this maddening crowd

To where a smile forever lingers.

A place where wonders never cease,

Where the cosmos kneels to me.

My heart as if fit to burst – 

For this is where my soul is free.

Take me away, my charming freer.

Paradise lures from afar.

I long to be under the navy abyss,

Under many a sparkling star.

I await restlessly for the beckon of day,

To experience my musings divine.

Why so special are these fancies, you ask?

For this ‘reality’ is none but mine.

By Ritisha Baidyaray

Ebony-Skinned

I recently wrote a poem based on the transatlantic slave trade, which occurred from the 16th to 19th centuries. Since this is such a sensitive issue, I tried my best to capture the emotions of those enslaved in such horrific conditions. This is in honour of the enslaved Africans who suffered unjustly.

Ebony-Skinned

Kente cloth adorns his body,

Complete with a youthful grin.

His soul is at its peak of joy, with

Pride in his ebony skin.

The sudden boom of an approaching gun

Startles him in his wake.

Whisked away by pale ghostly spirits

He must obey, for his life is at stake.

He is taken at gunshot to a colossal ship

Upon which the torture does begin.

Week upon week of shaming dehumanisation

Shatters his body and soul within.

He is bid to a cotton plantation.

Months of burning the midnight oil.

Branded. Identity stolen.

Months become years of merciless toil.

His ebony skin – once the pride of existence

Has become a symbol of lesser worth.

He longs to be freed from this cycle of life

But he is trapped on this hell upon earth.

Ritisha Baidyaray

The Red Shoes Ballet Review

I recently went to the ‘Red Shoes’ ballet in the Birmingham Hippodrome, and here is a review I wrote:

     On Thursday 13th of February 2020, L4th was thrilled to have the unmissable opportunity to venture to the Birmingham Hippodrome, to watch the famed ‘The Red Shoes’ ballet. Viewing a ballet would be a new experience for many, including myself, so it was with high hopes and effervescent manners that we anticipated the ballet.

     The purpose of our trip to the Birmingham Hippodrome was to see for ourselves how music can assist in complementing the style, atmosphere, and mood of dance. This would be fitting with our current ‘Music for Dance’ topic, which we are studying in Music. Experiencing the ballet would help in identifying the features in music for each individual dance.

     The music used was particularly effective in that it rose and fell along with the mood and tone of the part being portrayed in the ballet. I can specifically recall the orchestral music playing in a forte, and emotive manner at a point of high tension in the ballet. I liked that the music reflected the ongoings of the ballet, since this assisted in understanding it (especially in parts where the plot was ambiguous).

     I was genuinely spellbound post viewing the spectacular choreography used by the dancers, particularly the main characters such as Victoria (Ashley Shaw) and Julian Craster (Dominic North). A feature of the ballet that continues to remain with me is Dominic North’s dance solo, due to its dramatic and thought-provoking choreography. The choreography was perfect in that it was always clean-cut and synchronised.

The designer had effectively put the set and lighting to full use. During the times at which Vicky and the rest of Lermontov’s troop were performing to the onstage ‘audience’, it was completely clear due to the use of the moving curtains. Another standout piece of set was the sliding screens from the wings, as they provided an interesting equipment for the choreography to be based around. The lighting, too, was reflective of the mood of the ballet. For example, in depressing parts of the ballet, the lighting became blue (associated with sadness).

I had a personal appreciation for the costumes since they showed the type of clothing that people of the 1940s would have worn, so the historical context was present. I liked this as it added a more realistic touch to the tale.

     If I had to point out a criticism, however, it would be to make the plot clearer. This is due to the fact that there were times at which I was confused at what was going on in the ballet. An addition such as narration may have helped. Despite this, I would undoubtedly recommend ‘The Red Shoes’ to anyone because it was entertaining and the audience was able to empathise with each and every character (since they showed such emotion in their dancing).

Personally, I have learnt that music in ballet can help in building tension and creating atmosphere, which would be a useful addition to any type of emotive dance. Music can be the key to portraying emotions, and helps in the understanding of the ballet.

– (Edited with the assistance of my music teacher.)

The 2020 Academy Awards

Blinding lights of numerous cameras, pining to capture a fragment of your enchanting looks. A cascading dress, accentuated and perfectly complemented by the rouge blush of the red carpet. Fan upon fan, mesmerised at the sight of their idol, hustling and bustling to get that One. Step. Closer…

And you awake from your dream, not nearly ready for the drudgery of your ordinary life. While we may not be fortunate enough to experience the renowned Academy Awards, this dream was a reality for lucky few on the 10th of February (at 1 AM GMT time, no less). The 92nd Academy Awards made history, with the critically-acclaimed Parasite claiming a whopping four Oscars, to funky and flashy outfits stealing the show.

    Parasite was one of the show-stopping films of the annual Academy Awards, becoming the first foreign film in Oscars history to receive an award for Best Picture. It was proud to claim Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature, and Best Director, in addition, with Bong Joon-Ho (director of Parasite) joking, “After winning best international feature I thought I was done for the day and ready to relax.” Brad Pitt made a dig at the US Senate during his acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor, “They said I have 45 seconds. Which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week.” While the crowd found the joke rip-roaringly hilarious, supporters online were quick to respond with disappointment of yet another mention of tedious politics. Meanwhile, Rebel Wilson and James Corden were quick to bring on the laughter with their cat outfits (complete with face-paint) to represent Cats when presenting the award for visual effects.

The Academy Awards have wrapped up for yet another year, with comical jokes and emotive speeches being among the highlights of this year. With such triumphing successes among unexpected winners, who knows what next year’s Academy Awards will present?!

Food Groups Experiment – KEHS

After a much-needed Christmas break, L4K were back in the lab, ready to begin their new topic of food groups! We kick-started 2020 Biology with an experiment – the perfect way to start any term!

     Apparatus consisted of four test tubes and a test tube holder, as well as the food groups we were testing and their reagents. First up was starch with the iodine reagent, turning from a fiery orange to a deep blue-black. There was a unanimous gasp as the unexpected colour change occurred, and the fact that starch was present was confirmed. Next, was protein with the biuret reagent, the colour change from a sky-blue to a light lilac hue. The aesthetic shades of the colour change were much appreciated, and were all the confirmation we needed to state that protein was present. Following this was lipids (fats) with ethanol, whereupon the clear/colourless starting state had been transformed to milky/cloudy white. Albeit some confusion at first at the little colour change observed, we proceeded to shake the test tubes vigorously (after which we were rewarded with a lovely bubbling milky mix)! Last but not least, we tested sugars with the benedicts reagent. After the sky-blue benedicts had merely given the sugars a blue-ish tinge, we placed the test tubes in a hot water bath. Our curiosity was wholly satisfied after observing a dramatic colour change from sky-blue to varying shades of brick red, orange, and yellow.

As you can see, our first lesson back was extremely productive, and I can vouch that each and every member from L4K has learnt something new. While getting involved and seeing for ourselves how actual scientists tested for various nutrients was greatly enjoyable, we were happy to apply our new-found knowledge to studying more and more of the food groups topic. With such an interesting experiment to begin with, who knows what the rest of the term will bring?

Athena’s Intervention

  • Hello and a belated happy 2020 to you all! I recently wrote a poem inspired by Minerva/Athena of ancient mythology, as part of an entry to a competition. I would like to share my poem with you, and I hope you enjoy reading it!

ATHENA’S INTERVENTION

Poses upon his throne of grandeur,
Moulding to his tyranny.
A malevolent frown with dagger-like eyes
Twists his features most horrendously.

Here be a dictator, feared and proud,
With solid heart of ice.
Tremble upon mention of his name – 
Or deign to pay the price.

Freedom unheard of among the King’s court:
His command is law to all.
From dusk till dawn they toil away
Enjailed by the King’s haunting call.

Years pass like the turn of day,
Hope dwindles, waning in plight.
But word spreads like a wildfire, swift,
Of a revolution soon to ignite.

On velvet wings like a preying owl
Comes Athena in highest splendour.
From resplendent hair to her sandal-clad feet,
Not a single person fails to fear her.

The King himself in his glory and pomp
Trembles, shaken by the warrior’s might.
With a fluid grin masking his quivering fear, 
The King greets Athena with false delight.

Promachos laughs – a sinister sound –
And turns to face her kin.
“Free my people of their toil and sweat,
Lest a heavenly brawl to begin!”

The King declines with a sadistic sneer,
Letting loose a fanatical roar.
All intentions of a civil exchange
Are discarded in place of power and gore.

Athena combats with stealth and grace,
But the King with the brutest of force.
Never such fight had been witnessed before
Without the slightest shade of remorse.

A warrior’s cry pierces sharp in the sky
As Athena plunges her sword through the air.
But pity and sorrow befalls her face
And her sword remains stagnant midair.

The King erupts to rapturous praise,
Grovelling at her holy feet.
Yet she looks away with a distant gaze
For her kin’s suffering is to abate.

—————————————————

Years have flown on the breath of the wind,
And in hushed whispers talk the freed, of the fight.
They know in their heart of their saviour true,
For none can match Athena’s might.

14/04/2019 – Day 3 Thingvellir National Park/ Geysir/ Gullfoss/ Kerid Crater – Iceland

Today was a day not to be missed, consisting of touring the renowned Golden Circle and the Kerid Crater. Primarily we journeyed to Thingvellir National Park to witness a rare occurrence. Thingvellir is where two tectonic plates crashed then separated from the impact. Not only this, but Thingvellir is where most important historical events took place. For example, Norse clan representatives held meetings here and Iceland Asatru was abandoned here (the Old Norse pagan beliefs) to name a few. Thingvellir is geologically enhanced – being the clearest area in the nation above sea-level to see both sides of the Mid-Atlantic Rift, and features many exclusive ravines and gorges. One of the highlights of Thingvellir was being sprayed by the cooling droplets of Öxarárfoss: it was an idyllic moment that will always remain in my mind’s camera.
Next we ventured to the famed Geysir – this was an ethereal experience. Many onlookers much like ourselves were gazing as the boiling waters of the Skattur geysir started to bubble. Then the rumble of a beast waiting to be unleashed; and a dome of turquoise-blue arose. Another split-second and a towering spray of scattering droplets rose to an immeasurable height before dying down, only to be liberated another six to ten minutes later.
An Iceland trip could not be complete without visiting Gullfoss. The 32-metre cascading waterfall was most definitely my favourite tourist area in Iceland. The magnanimity of the whole thing left me utterly speechless. It wowed me that such a beauty, such a gem in the crown of Earth’s wonders could be so ethereal yet had the power to devastate on a massive scale. As the waters filled every nook and cranny of neighbouring rocks and crevices, I breathed in the scene. The English vocabulary falls short of the beauty I had witnessed at the heart of the Golden Circle.
This we followed by a short stop at the Kerid Crater – brick-red slopes (due to fresh iron content) caressed the royal turquoise waters. It was no surprise that the waters were pristine and perfectly coloured as the minerals from the slopes were exuding into the lake. The Kerid Crater was a particularly memorable end to our day as the vibrant colours lingered in my eyes long after the visit.

13/04/2019 – Day 2 Reykjavík/ Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge/ Grundarfjarðarbær/ Mt. Kirkjufell – Iceland

A dreamless sleep we awoke from only for the prospect of our first full day in Iceland – tremendously exciting! We dined the buffet breakfast of Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík (by far the best thing the hotel had to offer) and began the extensive car journey, making a pit stop only once at Borgarbyggð to enjoy a snack. Soon after we arrived at Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge and began trekking up the winding path. After some breathtaking views and perfect photographs, we quickly made our way to Mount Kirkjufell. Since Mt. Kirkjufell is famous for the shooting of the Game of Thrones, we were eager to see it. However, tremendous winds accompanied our views and we were being blown around like balloons! Deciding our small group was exceedingly mismatched against Mother Nature’s might, we hastily snapped a couple of images at the neighbouring waterfall and retired for the night

12/04/2019 – Day 1 Luton Airport/ Keflavik Airport – Luton/ Iceland

I wish I could say the day started with a bang, but I must admit the holiday vibes had not settled upon me yet. Like any other weekday, I dragged myself out of bed, amid reminders of showering and packing from my parents. The hours ticked by, consisting of hasty packing and hurriedly flinging possessions all over the place. After what seemed like a lifetime, I found myself in our car for the two-hour drive to Luton Airport. Upon reaching, we completed all the regular procedures (checking in and security) and boarded the plane. One look at my parents told me they were in high hopes for our trip. Lots of smiling; lots of laughing accompanied the three-hour journey to Keflavik Airport, but we were in for a horrendous surprise. After reaching, we were told ‍‍that due to impressive wind speeds of 100 km/h we would have to wait on board! Albeit much moaning, sighing, and shortage of snacks, we finally got off the plane after 1½ hours. Lost in a new atmosphere, we reached our hotel after another six hours and tucked into delicious Icelandic Domino’s pizza! As expected, we dropped into a deep sleep not to be disturbed…

Thirds Trip to Ledbury and The Malverns – KEHS

Wednesday 5th June brought lots of grins as we made our way to Ledbury, a small yet picturesque town in Herefordshire. We were split into groups and given around two hours to explore our surroundings, some collecting data from the busy high street to others peeking in at the renowned theatre. It was highly entertaining and a new experience for many of us, as well as a milestone in our learning journey. We were observing, noting and searching as if we were professionals! Of course, the Ledbury trip could hardly pass without a quick trip to the well-known sweet shop! Ice-cream, toffees and chocolate were bought and shown to one another along the way to the Malvern Hills.
The Malvern Hills were completely different. Following a steep hike up the hill, we followed the winding tracks to the summit, where we were rewarded for our efforts by a magnificent view. Towering over Greater Malvern and Malvern Wells, we snapped images of any photographer’s paradise! After a session of making notes, we ambled back (making a pit stop to enjoy yet more delicious ice-cream)!
This was definitely one of the most exciting trips the Thirds have been on till date, and we are looking forward to learning more about these scenic areas in our geography lessons.