Along a Dutch Waterway by Janine Clark

4th October 1996 at 01:00
Along a Dutch Waterway

Along a Dutch waterway, A heavily laden boat, Heads up the river, And local peasants, Walk along the river bank, Heading for the nearest town.

The heavily laden boat, Heads up the river, And its owner waves, To the local peasants, Walking along the river bank, Heading for the nearest town.

The local peasants, Walking along the river bank, Heading for the nearest town, Wave back to the owner, Of the heavily laden boat, Heading up the river, Along a Dutch waterway Janine Clark

This poem is described by Janine's teacher as a "found poem", for she has taken very plain language used to describe a painting by Jan Breughel in an art book by E Swinglehurst, The Art of Landscape, and made an effective poem of it.

In fact, Janine's poem is almost like a sestina - in which the six end-words of the first stanza are repeated as end-words in the five following stanzas, in a changing pattern. The poem is then rounded off with a three line envoi. The strict use of repetition in a sestina can make for a rather tedious poem. In Janine's work the rhythm, repetition and circularity of it creates an hypnotic mood and suits perfectly the calm, dark, heavy atmosphere of this 16th century Dutch riverscape.

Poem by Janine Clark, aged 12, who receives Stopping for Death: Poems of Death and Loss, edited by Carol Ann Duffy (Viking). Submitted by Tim Withers, head of English of Dene Magna School, Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire, who receives the Poetry Society's teachers' newsletter. For Poetry Society events ring 0171 240 4810.

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