Visiting poet pens ode to 'magnificent' UCS

A poet who came to UCS to run a poetry workshop for the English Department as well as give a lunchtime talk spanning the worlds of poetry and sport, was so inspired by the school that he has written an ode to UCS.

Author, poet and sports consultant Peter Sanderson visited UCS recently and delivered a poetry workshop for Year 7 pupils. Peter asked the pupils – from the form EBAN – for their responses to the theme of ‘stars’ and, within the space of one lesson, they were able to produce a mesmerising collaborative poem which featured a contribution from each boy.

“This poetry workshop was one to remember,” said Year 7 pupil Tom. “The poet structured the workshop around the idea of the galaxy and appreciating the natural world in all of its beauty.” (You can read the resulting poem and the rest of Tom’s account in the next edition of The Gower magazine.)

Peter then received a warm welcome from members of the school’s sustainability group and running club, as the prelude to his talk ‘Epiphany: How to create an idea that can inspire the world’. Besides writing poetry, Peter is a published author having penned sustainability-themed children’s book The Bird of Destiny: Horus and the Silver Raven; meanwhile in his day job, he is creative director of Swiss-based European Athletics. All of these influences coalesced into a talk that covered topics as diverse as the future of athletics; what it takes to create ideas that inspire other people; and being your true self amid the vagaries of peer pressure.

Peter’s insights into the inner workings of sports organisations and the challenges facing athletics, in particular, were fascinating, with students invited to moot possible solutions based on other sports, even chess. Peter’s career trajectory has taken in roles with grand institutions like the BBC, UEFA and FIFA. However, the Lancashire-born polymath found himself feeling right at home within the corridors of Frognal, saying: “Thank you again for inviting me to experience the magic of UCS. I was really blown away by the teachers, the magnificent buildings and, of course, the pupils. So many poets!”

Slowly but surely

By the Preston Poet

The place to dream, slowly but surely
Paulatim Sed Firmiter,
Where the mists of time and space dare to pause,
So minds and souls can clear,
Flinging open mighty doors,
For blue-sky hearts to open, stardust to fall and phoenix flames of life appear,
Amid a whir of elbow grease and joy,
Making men of boys,
A blur of maroon and black,
From Holly Hill to Frognal,
Winds in their sails,
Generation after generation coming back,
Each guided to find the centre of their universe,
The legacy of yesterday,
The teachers and leaders of tomorrow,
The wisdom of today,
A legacy enshrined, never borrowed,
A supernova emerges from their best and dissolves the learning of their worst,
To Eton and beyond,
Finding their genius,
With a gentle flash of their magic wand.

The place to dream, slowly but surely
Paulatim Sed Firmiter,
A gentle and peaceful ascent through wisdom and shine,
Scaling the invisible mountain of a school divine,
Where acorns and dreams gather at dawn,
Where giant oaks and masterstrokes gleam,
And ancient courage is spawned,
Dream to dare they say,
But here they dare to dream,
At a speed where all manner of genius and talent can be present and where people can both be heard and seen,
There are of course those like Bannister, Garland, Hart and Penrose to take a tiny pinch of the stardust,
Giant leaps like the frogs of the sacred ponds upon the heath,
The Frognal’s chorus ablaze,
Paulatim, Paulatim, Paulatim,
Launching hats and hatching dreams,
Listen with your heart they say,
And you’ll hear the gentle whisper of ancient giants unseen,
But humming between the notes of the pipe organ,
The poetry and wisdom of the Old Gowers,
As the ancestors,
Remember the old dream,
And pave the way for new ones,
Slowly but surely,
The training ground for greatness,
But more importantly,
A school of belonging and joy,
The place of the people,
Embracing all who wear the iconic badge,
One for all and all for one,
Paulatim Sed Firmiter
Slowly but surely
The dream goes on.

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