i‑Learner Education Centre

Teacher Diaries

Teacher Diaries: Miss Brenda – The Poem I Love

This week, I want to share this poem with you – A Spell for Midnight by Hal Summers, from One Hundred Years of Poetry for Children.

This poem consists of three stanzas. It has a repetitive pattern:
“Yesterday is…
Tomorrow is…”
which is easy to follow. It keeps contrasting ‘yesterday’ from ‘tomorrow’. Also, there is an A-B-C-B rhyme scheme which is easy to read.

It looks like a simple poem but in fact it carries a deep meaning. What it tries to present is a gradual change of perspective towards the future – at the same time the author becomes more positive.

In the first stanza, he is rather reserved. He is content with yesterday because he’s already accepted what he has gone through. But we can feel his hesitation about tomorrow due to his fear and uncertainty of the unknown. It is absolutely understandable as I guess it applies to most of us. We are safe in our comfort zone when we feel like we have control over the known.

However, he starts to alter in the second stanza. He goes from being bothered by his imaginary pressure in tomorrow to being more positive about the future. Yesterday still serves as his back up – one that he treasures. He has new hope for tomorrow … even an expectation of winning. What makes the poem even more encouraging is the last stanza, where he says that he is ready to make a leap to tomorrow. We can feel his urge to move to the future. He can’t wait…

While reading this poem, can you visualise yourself walking through a tunnel which is full of darkness? It looks scary and you might be reluctant to make a move, but don’t worry, can you see the light at the end of the tunnel? Stay calm and keep walking and smiling! The brightness from tomorrow is waiting for us!

A Spell for Midnight
by Hal Summers

Yesterday is safe,
Tomorrow’s full of danger,
Yesterday’s face I know,
Tomorrow is a stranger.

Tomorrow is a white sheet,
Yesterday’s a written,
Tomorrow is for victory,
Yesterday is beaten.

Yesterday lies in a vault,
Tomorrow’s on the move,
Yesterday’s my money,
Tomorrow is my love.