'Dirt Magnet' rearranged in Spain!

Post date: Mar 4, 2014 12:25:51 AM

I recently sent some recordings of my poems to a Spanish friend, who teaches English to students aged 12 /13, in Seville. I joked that it would be an interesting activity to get the students to translate one of my poems into Spanish, then swap their work with one another and translate each other's work back into English. I did wonder whether this would result in some surreal 'new' poems with certain words and phrases being lost in translation. However, on seeing the end product of this exercise, it was clear that I had underestimated the students' abilities.

The poem chosen for this task is 'Dirt Magnet' from my book 'We Are Poets!'

I think the students have done a great job; I don't think that I could match the quality of their translating, and certainly wouldn't have been able to at the age of 13. I'll be sending the link to this blog to their teacher, and so, dear reader if you are one of the students that I have been writing about I'd just like to say, 'Hello! Well done! And thanks for reading.'


What’s the point of earwax,

And the slime that’s up my nose?

Why can’t I plant a seed in there,

And see if something grows?

Why is my belly button

Full of fluff and goo?

Why do spilt spaghetti hoops

Stick to me like glue?

Why is there always custard

Dried upon my chin?

And why do I make so much gas

That’s better out than in?

Why is there always soil

And grass stains on my knees?

Why do my socks get scuffed with oil

And always smell like cheese?

Why is half the garden

Underneath my nails?

And why does my hair tangle

Like a mesh of mad rats’ tails?

Why is that place behind my ears

Always thick with grime.

And why is my grey, unwashed neck

Worse than any crime?

Where does all that dust come from

That’s in between my toes,

And why is there so much of it?

My Mum says that she knows

The reason I’m so grungy,

It’s a power I exert,

The muck’s attracted to me,

I’m a magnet for the dirt!

Copyright Helên Thomas

And here is how it looks after having been translated into Spanish then back into English by students from I.E.S. Murillo, Seville, Spain.