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My Holiday by Britney Sewell

If a holiday was a bunch of

Flowers

Mine would be the most boring

White ones that no one wants

If a holiday was a

Cat

Mine would be a grey

Stray that has run away

If a holiday was a

Kid

Mine would just sit and

Not do as it's told

If a holiday was a

Tap

Mine would just dribble

And not run properly

If a holiday was a

Rubber

Mine would be the smallest in the pack

This is a great example of how metaphor can be used to good effect by young children. This kind of exercise can achieve excellent results. Britney's poem is also unexpected because of the subject. We expect holidays to be fun, but here it has been a total let-down.

Each metaphor contributes to this sense of anti-climax, from the boring white flowers to the child told to do as it's told . Even the cat, which could have shown some promise as an object of affection, runs away.

The wonderful thing about this poem is that all the images are ordinary, but transformed into metaphor they take n a special quality. Poems should be able to show us new connections between ordinary objects or events and this is why I like Britney's. She has not looked much further than what is around her, but she has worked hard at bringing those observations into a different context.

The other important aspect of using the mundane as metaphor is that the reader may be much more inclined to believe in a poem.

JackiE Wills

Britney Sewell receives The Puffin Book of 20th Century Children's Verse, edited by Brian Patten. Her poem was submitted by deputy head Tim Hinton. Jackie Wills is poet-in-residence at Lever Brothers in Kingston upon Thames. Her second collection, Party, is published in October (Leviathan). Her first, Powder Tower, was shortlisted for the 1995 T S Eliot Prize. Please send poems, no longer than 20 lines, to Friday magazine, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX. Include the poet's name, age and address, the name of the submitting teacher and the school address.Or e-mail: friday@tes.co.uk

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