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To thine own self be true...

Jemima’s Poem, Highly Commended, Individual (8-11 years)

Highly Commended in the individual entry 8-11 years


Who created it?

Jemima, age 11



“My name is Jemima and I turned 11 recently. I love art, music and writing. I enjoy making art with all media, but my favourite medium is watercolour. I am also interested in architecture, and I draw buildings on paper and also digitally, on my Wacom tablet. I am passionate about music and I play the violin and piano. I think music is a great way to help people to relax, either through playing an instrument or through listening to it. When I was very young, I loved writing stories, and poetry is one of my favourite aspects of English. I feel the English language is so wide and diverse which helps me to write poetry. Expressing myself through art and writing is very important to me, so I hope I can put the two together into a job one day.”


My creative response

Jemima’s poem

To thine own self be true

Be who you are

Feel who you are

Be true to who you are


To thine own self be true

Take action to be you

Do what feels right to you

Have faith in what you do


To thine own self be true

Don't do it to please

Don't do it for praise

Don't do it for love


To thine own self be true

You may not be popular

You may not always shine

You may not choose wisely 


But to thine own self be true

And you'll be on your way

To a life of love

To a life of happiness

To a life of excitement

To thine own self be true


About my creative response

“I love to create poetry, and when I write I end up with a big flood of words in my head which come out in one. Shakespeare’s quote, ' thine own self be true...', made me think about what it means to be truthful to yourself and how it is not always the simplest thing to do but it is usually the right thing to do. I tried to make my poem simple in its form to reflect the purity of the quote. 

“When I had finished my poem, I wrote it down on my Wacom tablet and drew the illustration for the poem. I think poetry is a fantastic way to express yourself and should always be an important part of English.”


When have you been ‘true to yourself’?

“I think there are a lot of opportunities to do something right over what other people are doing. I’m sure that I have once done something wrong just to fit in with the rest, but it is important to choose what is right over what you might feel pressure to do from others. As I’ve got older I’ve tried to do what the best thing for me is and to listen to my gut instincts.” 


What is your favourite Shakespeare play?

“As part of our curriculum at school this year we have studied The Tempest. We have looked at this during our English lessons and our drama lessons and we have written responses to characters in the book which I loved as it allowed me to consider how I interpret the writings of Shakespeare and it shows how relevant his work still is today. 

We are presenting a modern day version of The Tempest this term to the rest of the school and our parents which will be very exciting as we’ve not been able to have ‘live’ in-person concerts or plays for such a long time since Covid-19. My favourite character is Gonzalo because of his kindness towards Prospero and I think the quote, ‘ thine own self be true...’ would be one he would apply to his own circumstances.”