is a fat black woman

walking the fields

pressing a breezed


to her cheek

while the sun lights up

her feet



is a fat black woman

riding the waves

drifting in happy oblivion

while the sea turns back

to hug her shape

Grace Nicholls

Since Jeremy Harmer read this poem at Istek-elt this year, I have been searching for it. I knew I had it somewhere in my files and at last I found it.

I love this poem for many reasons.

So here is a sample lesson plan but I’ll be glad to hear ideas from you.

  1. Ask students to finish the statement ‘Beauty is —–‘
  2. Write all the words on the board and prepare a word cloud.
  3. As Jeremy Harmer suggested do wall dictation dividing the class into teams.
  4. Ask students to read the poem and discuss the followings.
  • ‘Beauty is in the eye of beholder’
  • fashion, idols, same kind of people everywhere.
  • first impressions
  • physical differences and bullies
  • Is it really important to be beautiful?Why?

5. The poem is great for practising participles and time clauses. Write      the  skeleton of the poem on the board and ask them to write their own poems

Beauty is a/an+adj+noun

Going somewhere

Doing something

While something else is happening

I really want to use this poem next year in one of my lessons. And here is mine


is a little angle

running in the school yard

in her strawberry cake coat

playing with her friends cheerfully

while my eyes watch

thinking how beautiful she is



is a little girl

wearing thick glasses

admiring her friends

running in the yard

while her mum watches her

thinking how beautiful she is.

11 comments on “BEAUTY
  1. How creative! I love this class. It’s really interesting to introduce the topic “beauty” “subjectivity” in the classroom. I like your poem!

    Your suggested tasks are resourceful. You can also share a WallWisher with your students. They can reply: “What’s beauty for you?” They can attach a painting they consider beautiful, a picture, music, a song and so on.

    Thanks for this inspiring class.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention BEAUTY | A Journey in TEFL --

  3. Thanks Marisa,
    I’m glad that you liked the idea.Wallwisher will be great as you suggested with the images they choose. Now I tthink maybe they can create glogsters for their poems

  4. I really love this too. If I was working with adult students I would expand this lesson into a discussion about how photographed models are airbrushed… and how the image of what beauty is has changed over the generations, getting them to give examples from their childhoods.

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  6. Pingback: World Poetry Day | A Journey in TEFL

  7. Beauty
    is a teacher
    whose smile never fades no matter what
    seeing loveliness around her
    instead of pain and wrath

    is a woman
    who patiently sets aside
    for the sake of her children
    all vanity and pride

  8. Pingback: BEAUTY : A Journey in TEFL | Creativity in ELT |

  9. A great lesson suggestion. I did something similar with the video poem Waiting. I asked students to write their own poems using verbs in -ing forms (e.g. Talking… Looking for… ). Will use this one too.
    Will come back with my version of “Beauty is…” – not feeling very creative at the moment 🙂

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