Looking in the Mirror by Daisy Upton

22nd September 2000 at 01:00
* Don't just stand there

Looking at me,

Not even caring.

That's not me I see.

* Don't just stand there

Staring me out,

Try and help me figure

My problems out.

* Don't just stand there

Copying me,

Pretending you're crying

Rude as can be.

* Don't just stand there

Lost in a frame,

You're only a figure,

You don't share my name.

* Don't just stand there

Making me look bad,

Your face is more ugly,

But I bet you're not as sad.

* Don't just stand there

Looking at me,

You're just a reflection

There is more than you to me.

Daisy Upton, Year 10, Imberhorne school,East Grinstead

There are plenty of poems about this kind of angst. Often they cannot engage us. However, this one works because it uses a number of poetic devices which contain the emotion and the self-doubt expressed. Daisy's repeated first line is one of these devices. She uses the frustration within the subject matter to give the poem power and rhythm.

In addition, her language is authentic and direct: "staring me out", "making me look bad". She resists the temptation to elaborate on the problems referred to in the second stanza, using confrontation instead. She is spare with her imagery, relying on the title to work hard, but this adds to the impact of the poem. If the poem was wallowing in misery, the optimism of the ending would have difficulty in being heard.

Jackie Wills Daisy Upton receives Emergency Kit, edited by Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney (Faber). Her poem was submitted by Sandra Morgan. 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 email: friday@tes.co.uk

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