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Wordsworth Primary School – The Stephen Spender Prize

Wordsworth Primary School – The Stephen Spender Prize


In July some of our Year 5 and 6 pupils entered UK wide poetry translation competition – The Stephen Spender Schools Laureate Prize. Our pupil engagement was fantastic and all of our pupils did an amazing job. We are proud to say that Emma Sultan’s poem (6L) was chosen as one of three Highly Commended entries in the KS1-2 category. In recognition of this, Emma has been awarded a book token by Mrs Gheorghita, who kindly supported all the pupils in entering the competition. Pupil entries will be displayed in our school library to celebrate their hard work. Please see Emma’s translation below. Well done to all those pupils who entered!

Emma Sultan’s translation of ‘Doggy Sorrows’ by Jan Brzechwa: 

On the bank of the blue river Little sorrows live. 

The first reason is That you’re not allowed to enter the garden. 

The second one – that the water doesn’t want to be dry 

The third one is that there’s a fly in its ear, Then the cat has to scratch, And the hen can’t be caught, And that you can’t bite your neighbour’s leg, And that no sausages fall from the sky.

 And the last sorrow is this one: The man gets to drive and the dog has to run on its own feet! 

But it is enough to give the dog milk And there are no more sorrows on the bank of the river. 


I found translating the poem both challenging and interesting. The challenging part was because I couldn’t read in Polish so I had to sound out the word. Given the fact that in Polish, the same letter can have a different sound, it was even more challenging. The interesting bit was thinking about which word would make sense in the English version. It was a funny poem so I really enjoyed translating it.