GRACE. By Paul O'Brien

14th July 1995 at 01:00
GRACE. Thank you Lord for keeping me alive from yesterday until today and for making big bully Johnny Armstrong get mumps and stay off school so he can't beat me up and take away my dinner money

Please keep him off tomorrow because we don't have custard tomorrow Oh Lord I beseech thee Let not the custard be, today, Lumpy and and and amen.

By Paul O'Brien, Year 9, who receives Michael Rosen's Mind the Gap (Scholastic). Submitted by Pat Sumpter of Burnside Community High School, Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, who receives the Poetry Society teachers' newsletter, a quarterly bulletin which includes features on innovative approaches to poetry in the classroom as well as news on the latest resources, events and issues. For Poetry Society events, ring 0171 240 4810.

The great thing about poetry is that it is the one medium that gives you permission to beg, borrow, scavenge and steal from any other form of speech, writing, use of language and mode of discourse. Paul has found the form of the prayer an ideal way to make his problems seem both funny and serious at the same time. It's that rhetorical device whereby you madly exaggerate the gravity of how you're speaking in order to make the problem seem farcical.

Michael Rosen

This is Michael Rosen's last TES Young Poet of the Week column. Next term's guest selector will be popular children's poet Kit Wright. His most recent publication for young readers is Great Snakes! (VikingPuffin) and a selection of his poems for adults appears in Penguin Modern Poets 1. Once again, we are grateful to the Poetry Society for their help in the first stage ofjudging. Poems, up to 20 lines long, on any subject, should be sent to The TES, Admiral House, 66-68, East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Please include the poet's name, age and school and the teacher's name. Closing date, July 31.

Last week's poem. "Canned Apple", by Hatice Ismail, was submitted by Angela Rayner of Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green, London, and not as stated.

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