Crimson by Dominic Gould

23rd January 1998 at 00:00
I admire Dominic Gould's wondrously titled "Crimson". It is a rich poem and as accomplished as it is full of feeling. Images from legends - brambles around a castle, knights in armour -are set against a modern relationship. The poem has many commendable stylistic features - the effective use of conversation, half-rhyme and rhyme, the delicate-sounding "petals are capitulating" and the well-placed line endings. Roles are reversed with the male imprisoned in the castle, longing to be released. "Crimson" leaves a wistful sense of undying passion.


Moniza Alvi, this term's guest poet, was born in Pakistan and brought up in Hertfordshire. She has published two collections, "The Country at My Shoulder" and "A Bowl of Warm Air".


"Give me a week," she said,

"And I'll be there."

It has now been nearly a year,

And petals are capitulating;

Brambles tighten

Around my castle.

"Let down your hair," I said,

"And we can be together."

When I touched, it was

Lighter than a feather

But I turned to stone;

And stand to see the knights in armour

Surround and observe

My lack of pageantry.

"Only slay the dragon," she said,

"And you'll be mine."

It is now another time,

And yet, as we grow old,

Firelight still flickers on

Cave walls

Otherwise cold.


Dominic Gould, aged 16, receives "The Country at My Shoulder" by Moniza Alvi (Oxford University Press). Submitted by Peter Carpenter of Tonbridge School, Kent, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems to The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY

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