The Pearl's Secrets;Young Poet;TES Competition;Poem

19th February 1999 at 00:00
Class 3 wrote this poem during a writing workshop I gave on the paintings of John Singer Sargent. This particular piece is inspired by "Mrs Carl Meyer and her Children", a sumptuous portrait which presents the main character wearing what must be a 12- foot string of pearls. "What can the pearls see that we can't?" I asked. "What are its secrets?" The real success of the poem, I feel, is that Class 3 have invented a new character, out of "shot", who is nonetheless a fully realised presence in the picture because we can hear his "quiet angry voice" reading out loud. I love the tell-tale details: the "show-off suit", the "shiny shoes"; and the masterful "crystal house", which leads one to think of transparency, fragility and a certain opulent toughness, all the "secrets" Sargent was himself in the business of secretly unravelling.

THE PEARL'S SECRETS

A secret boyfriend

Called Henry

Reading a serious book

In a quiet angry voice

To my lady

He wears shiny shoes

A show-off suit

And a black top hat

He gives her

A crystal house

To say I love you

class 3, bromley hall special school

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