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Cot life by Amna Ahmed

Cot life

I peeled stars out of the sky for you

Laid them by your happy head

They sparkled at your gaze

I knitted forests with my fingers for you

And with your low chuckle

You breathed wonder into them

I sailed oceans for you

Brought you gems and colours from the deep

Your smile lit up the dark depths

With so much life breathed in and out of you

How can you grow so quiet,

Lie still, silent and pale blue?

Pearls and eyes, diamonds and smiles

Are gone from this place

I cry tears for you


This is a remarkably sophisticated, elegant, and controlled treatment of an emotive subject. Every aspect of the language has been thought out, from the cleverly inverted title to the careful linking together of all the images in the last stanza. The poem is a wonderful example of how simple language, redrafting and forethought make a poem more fresh and moving, not less.


Amna Ahmed, aged 15, receives Slattern by Kate Clanchy (Chatto Windus). Submitted by Angela Yates of Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls, Hertfordshire, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. For Poetry Society events, tel: 0171 240 2133

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