I am A Corner, deprived of light An endless alley-way in an endless night A deserted pub with no ale to booze A drowsy parent who yearns for a snooze
I am Death who's lost its scythe Buried in a coffin but still alive A distressed dog encaged in a car A traveller's weary feet which have plodded too far
I am The punishment that everyone fears A yelling, felled tree that nobody hears Can you hear shouting from deep within?
No one will know me beneath the skin
Richard Burt's poem uses the simple form of a list to convey a series of different images of powerlessness, isolation, loneliness and fear. He handles rhyme confidently, never sacrifices sense or sensibility for the sake of an easy rhyme, and his closing couplet accomplishes beautifully the summation of all the metaphors he has laid before us throughout the poem.
By Richard Burt, aged 12, who receives Stopping for Death: Poems of Death and Loss, edited by Carol Ann Duffy (Viking). Submitted by Yvonne Richards of Stewartby Middle School, The Crescent, Stewartby, Beds MK43 9NH, who receives the Poetry Society's teachers' newsletter.
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