Serena Roper;Young Poet;Poetry

15th January 1999 at 00:00
Serena's poem is a nice example of a dramatic monologue. It was written after working with puppeteer Rachel Riggs, who got her class to make puppets from found objects around the school. Serena's torch then spoke the lines that she had written for it as part of a shared performance.

What I like in this poem is its directness and honesty. Getting children to write in other voices can be a really useful way of allowing them to speak strong feelings but with the safety net of it being "someone else's" words. Nevertheless, I think Frank's desire to "want to shine", to escape from his cupboard and to have batteries that work are feelings we can all identify with. I particularly like the double-edged last lines where he is "only happy whensomeone needs (his) help", the last word hanging on its own, as if questioning its right to be there.

Anthony Wilson


My name is Frank

the talking torch I

want to shine but I

need some help to do

it I won't go on

because the

batteries have run

out I wish someone

would come and

change them because

I want to shine

again I spend most

of my life in the

cupboard it's very

boring and I am

only happy when

someone needs my


Serena Roper

Serena Roper, aged 18, receives 'Emergency Kit' edited by Jo shapcott and Matthew Sweeney (Faber). Submitted by Varie Freyne of Bromley Hall Special School, London E14, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems to 'TES Young Poet, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Anthony Wilson is Poetry Society poet-in-residence for primary education, and the author of 'How Far From Here Is Home?' (Stride) and co-author of 'The Poetry Book for Primary Schools' (Poetry Society)

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