Exploring poetry: Reactions to coping with change

For Year 11 English Unit 2, students were asked to write a creative piece in response to the poem ‘First Frost’ about the events leading up to and including those in the poem. Sonya’s piece paid particular attention to small details.

telephone booth

First Frost
Andrei Andreyevich Voznesensky (May 12, 1933 – June 1, 2010)

A girl is freezing in a telephone booth,

huddled in her flimsy coat,

   her face stained by tears

and smeared with lipstick.

She breathes on her thin little fingers.

Fingers like ice. Glass beads in her ears.

She has to beat her way back alone

Down the icy street.

First frost. A beginning of losses.

The first frost of telephone phases.

It is the start of winter glittering on her cheek,

The first frost of having been hurt.

(translated by Stanley Kunitz)


Late this afternoon I received such terrible news, I cannot even bring myself to say those words; the words that I thought wouldn’t be mentioned for at least another ten years. It’s all too soon, so very soon. 

After coming home from window-shopping with Grandmamma, I noticed that Mr Percy, our mail man, had come by. It was an odd occasion, as normally he wouldn’t swing around till Tuesday. At that time, I didn’t know that the letter inside my letterbox would tie my fate all together. I wasn’t in a rush to open that lemon coloured envelope, I did have quite a tiresome day. So I sat back on the couch and settled on reading my favourite books, the TV playing to itself in the background. It wasn’t until almost dinner time that I came around to remembering the little envelope. As I tore away at the seal, I hummed along to a song on the local FM radio station. 

After scanning the letter, I almost dropped it onto the cold wooden floor. For a moment I stood there, dumbfounded, wondering whether if this was reality. How could such a thing happen? Grabbing my coat and gloves, I ran as quickly as I could to the post office. As I reached there, old Mr Percy was just about to close up the store. I leapt through my explanation and begged him to wait just one more moment and give me what I needed. He shook his head at me but went inside anyway to retrieve a yellow sticky note with a number written on it in black pen. I thanked him profusely and ran across the road to the red telephone booth. Thankfully, it was warmer inside the small space. 

I settled my brown gloves down on the counter, my hands shook as I dialled the digits. “H-hello?” I said, my voice was barely above a whisper.

“Sorry?” The person on the other end said, probably not hearing me.

“It’s me, Abe’s daughter, I was told to call this number.” I responded, shakily.

“Oh, Abigail.” Suddenly the stranger’s voice switched to a sorrowful tone. “I’m so sorry, it’s already too late.”

By Sonya P 

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