Sun and Water

A renga in 16 stanzas
Written by the students of
the Weather Substation at the Romain Rolland Gymnasium
Berlin-Reinickendorf, July 2nd, 2015

The sun rises.
Its rays illuminate the whole valley.
The river flows downstream.
I allow the melody of the water
To carry me with it.

The morning sun
Shines on a green leaf
That floats on the water.
A small ant sits upon it
Making the journey downstream alone.

The days are grey.
They become ever brighter.
The sun is dazzling.
The waves break,
Break on the white beach.

The sun gives off light,
Glittering on the surface of the sea
Like a sky full of stars,
The rays shine
And illuminate all they touch.

Light shines on the sea,
Creating so many shades of blue.
The waves murmur.
The heat quickly spreads
And the days grow longer.

The smell of the sea,
Weak, yet still present,
Is carried by the wind,
Decorated by the songs
Of all its animal inhabitants.

The sea’s waves
Quietly gurgle
Against the coastline.
The surface of the sea glitters,
Mesmerised by the sun.

Heat, what now?
A mouth dried out.
One drop of water.
Desert sands and great heat,
But no water to come to the rescue.

Quiet, yet loud too,
The waves rush to the cliff.
A roaring sound, even as
It still feels peaceful.
Sun, summer by the sea.

Glittering beauty,
In the glow of the late sun.
As far as the eye can see,
the ocean lies calm.
But it can be so very different too.

An irascible wind
Sweeps through quiet spaces,
Turning the world on its head.
And how do I find myself there?
Changed, with fresh courage!

Reflected in the water,
It now sparkles and shines.
I grow wetter.
The heat is oppressively warm.
A night at sea begins.

Outside in the garden,
Leaves wilt in the fountain.
I see the sun
Going down in the distance.
The night completes the day.

She leaps into the cold,
Eye closed, tightly shut.
Her hair shimmers.
It will be dark in no time at all,
For the sun is setting.

The sun rises
And the lake is a mirror
To reflect it, the sun.
The lake sees the sun as blue
And the sun the lake as yellow.

The sun as a motor,
the heart of this world.
With water as the blood,
That keeps it alive.
Without both, there is nothing.

Solar Eclipse at Romain-Rolland-School

March 20, 2015








One of my first thoughts as my alarm clock goes off and I lift myself out of my bed, deals with an event that has been discussed and planned for several weeks in my additional Physics course. Something unique and rare is going to happen today. Something so unique, that I will even be allowed to bunk off my Biology lesson and half of my English lesson to watch it: the Solar Eclipse which can be viewed not only in Berlin, not only in Germany, but in almost half of the European countries. So I am VERY excited, particularly because of the fact that this is the very first eclipse for me to observe. As there will be a lot of preparation and special equipment required for the observation, I won’t have Biology today and, instead, will be spending time outside and enjoy the beautifully warm and sunny spring weather today. Sunny spring weather? Oh, yes, we are actually very lucky today. Especially our Physics teacher was really concerned about the weather forecast provided on Wednesday, our last lesson before the eclipse, which predicted cloudy skies – not the best conditions for the use of our brand-new solarscope. But on my way to school I am assuaged as I see the bright blue sky. I actually have not seen such a beautiful sky for a long time: it looks like a freshly washed tablecloth that somebody laid on top of Berlin. Clean, no clouds, no fog, just sunshine and a few white tracks left by several airplanes. At the moment the sun is still shining as it usually does, but boy, this will change after the next two Geography lessons. 90 minutes pass like 90 seconds after which I will join the guys from my additional Physics course to build up our observation zone. During the break all the other students will have the opportunity to watch the eclipse with the help of our instruments. Which instruments? Apart from the solarscope, which is a special telescope for sun observations, a special box shaped projector that shows an enlarged projection of the sun, and a set of super-fancy-looking sunglasses which are so dark that you can look through them in the direction of the sun without setting your eyes on fire. And so it begins. The moon starts to cover the sun at approximately 10 a.m. The eclipse reaches its climax right as the long break starts. Hundreds of junior and senior RoRo students come to watch this spectacular event and I am right in the middle of this crowd. Now the moon covers 80% of the sun and I can feel something strange: obviously it is getting colder and I notice that the sunrays shining on my face do not feel as warm as they usually do. Although the sunlight still seems to be really bright and intensive it almost feels cold on my skin, which is a feeling I have never experienced before. The break passes quickly, the students start to leave, and so does the moon. It starts to leave the sun and reveals its native, well-known, round shape. The schoolyard is empty again as I start wrapping up all our equipment together with my fellows.

For now, that was my eclipse experience. That Friday was very exciting for me and I bet I am not the only one. The next eclipse visible from Germany will be on August 12, 2026 and I am sure I will not miss out on that one either.

(Igor Zaytsev)

An Enemy of the People

On 23.2.2015, the Sophie-Scholl-Schule substation attended a four-hour workshop at the Schaubühne theatre in Berlin about Henrik Ibsen’s play “An Enemy of the People”.

Theater workshop


In the play, Dr. Stockmann exposes a scandal: the water at the town health baths is contaminated. To begin with, he receives support from the press and his friends. Yet they suddenly change their position and no longer want the scandal to be uncovered. They see their future as threatened.
Thomas Ostermeier’s staging of the play poses the question: what chance does truth have in a society where the economy comes before all else?

The students were given the following task: have I even been opportunistic? When? Why?

It was interesting to hear my classmates’ “confessions” and observe their facial expressions at the same time.



Who is stronger? Who is more powerful? Who is more convincing?

The students were given instructions by Wiebke Nonne, the Schaubühne’s theatre educator, in how to make proper use of their bodies in theatre acting.

 The workshop was funny and interesting, but also demanding.


Many thanks to the Theatre Education team at the Schaubühne in Berlin!

The workshop helped me internalise the play more!


Hello from Romain-Rolland School, Germany

You can find Romain-Rolland-Gymnasium (RoRo) in the northern part of Berlin (Germany) which used to be the French district before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Its European profile is reflected by the variety of language classes offered to the students who learn English and French as their first and second languages. Additionally Spanish, Chinese or Latin classes can be attended. The second core theme is Sciences. At a young age, students learn how to experiment by working on special projects in cooperation with Berlin universities and national education foundations. The school community appreciates social commitment, gives the students a chance to develop their creative skills and teaches them social competences based on tolerance, peace, and considerateness.

RoRo had its first encounter with the Weather Stations project at the ilb International Literature Festival Berlin 2014 when a group of students attended a reading by Mirko Bonné from Hamburg (Germany) and Tony Birch from Australia. The students are in the age of 17 years.

Students from RoRo say:

“I really like the idea of connecting the aspect of climate change with literature so that there is an incentive even to people who might not be interested in this topic. I think in the project we will get to know a bit more about climate change from different perspectives; from the authors and from the other participants. I hope that we will learn how to express topics like climate change through literary texts. I am looking forward to getting more information when Mirko Bonné visits us.”

“I think that climate change does influence all of our lives and that we, as the young generation, should try to make the world a better place. It is not easy to draw attention to this subject, because everyone knows about climate change and its consequences. The problem is that just a few people help to prevent it. That is where the Weather Stations project comes in. They want to reach more and more people, the elders and the youth, and want them to know that with a little help from anyone, things can be changed. By using poems, short stories and promoting our school, we get a chance to take part in it.”

“I think the Weather Stations project will be a great project to learn about climate change and nature in a different way than just by watching TV or reading newspaper articles. I think it is great that we will get to know authors from different parts of the world.”

“I expect to learn more about the problems of climate change and the issues it causes around the world. I am particularly interested in the different opinions of different cultures toward that topic. In America, for example, I have even heard people say that climate change is not a real thing, and just made up by the media or environmental activists. I am excited to discuss these issues in class and with authors from all around the world who are interested in the same thing.”

Late Summer Afternoon – Lukas Hoffman, Sophie-Scholl-Schule

Berlin, 20 September 2014

Berlin, 20 September 2014


I look up.
The ocean that we call sky is clear.
The burning light of the sun hurts my eyes.
Instinctively I turn my head in another direction.
What I see is the reflecting after-glow on the other side of the big mirror.
My brain tells me it’s a good day,
but it’s been a cold day.
The sun wants to tell me something,
now that I have been thinking about her.
But she doesn’t like what I have been thinking,
so she goes and her place takes a red and orange cloud.
This beautiful blue ocean turned into a dark unclear cover.
All that happened within a few minutes.

Lukas Hoffman, Sophie-Scholl-Schule, Berlin


Berlin, 18 September, 2014.

Berlin, 18 September, 2014.

I have been spoilt this week in Berlin. The weather is clear and sunny, and I have been to a remarkable writers’ festival where the emphasis is on ideas and exchange rather than celebrities and book sales. My hosts have been remarkably generous. I feel blessed and energised, rather than drained of effort.

As part of the Global Weather Stations project, I have had the chance to meet with high school students here. Today, I conducted a creative writing workshop with the students, discussing the power of poetry, locality and the effects of climate change on each of us. Rather than ask them to contemplate a global ‘crisis’, or attempt to decipher the extent of the scientific information available about the issue of global warming, I suggested that they go home from school today and take a photograph of the sky directly above their own street or home. I asked that they then study the photograph, live with it a while, before writing a piece of prose or poetry about their own little piece of sky.

I let them know that I too have a piece of sky above my own home. I showed them an image I made the day before I left for Europe, just to prove it. We each have a piece of sky, joined to the next piece, and so on and so on, reaching from Melbourne to Berlin and all points beyond. Where would I draw a dividing line, a wall, between my piece of sky and the roof above the heads of these wonderful young people? There is no line. We are in and under this together.

Tony Birch