My Quiet Place by Florence Kayll;TES Young Poet of the Week;Poem

15th May 1998 at 01:00
My quiet place is my cupboard

I like my dresses hanging down like leaves

hanging down on my face

I put my face in my dresses

It is dark and quiet and peaceful

The leaves start tickling my nose

I laugh and jump out of the cupboard

FLORENCE KAYLL.

* Florence Kayll has wandered unselfconsciously into the very heart of poetry with her response to Walter de la Mare's poem "Myself". Her teacher wrote to say that, after reading Walter de la Mare to her Year 1 class on National Poetry Day, they remained silent, which goes to show that although a good poem can leave nothing to be said, it can feed other poems.

The subtlety of Florence's poem lies in the way the poem manages to hold in balance the image of the dresses in the cupboard and leaves hanging on the trees without one becoming more real or important than the other. From the point at which the dresses are likened to leaves, leaves and dresses become interchangeable. Florence's illustrated version of her poem shows how well she has assimilated this sense of imagery - she has decorated leaf-shapes with the colours of her favourite clothes.

SIAN HUGHES

* Florence Kayll, aged 5, receives 'Red-All-Over Riddle Book' by George Szirtes (Faber). Submitted by Mrs Griffin of St Oswald's CE Infant School, Durham City, 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. Sian Hughes wa s a winner in the TLSPoems on the Underground competition in 1996, since when her poems have appeared in "The North", "Writing Women" and "London Magazine". A short collection, "Saltpetre", is published by SmithDoorstop Books this month.

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