TES Young Poet of the Week

5th May 1995 at 01:00
PORT SUNLIGHT Men and women Walk to work, Past black and white houses.

Gardens and plants, Memorials and monuments Roses around.

Past the gallery Pillers at the door Sea-horse riding The fountain.

Bowling green As smooth as soap, Into the red-brick factory.

By Michael McCarthy, aged 8, who receives Michael Rosen's Quick Let's Get Out of Here (Puffin). Submitted by Mary Tyrrell from St Anne's RC Primary School, Birkenhead, Wirral, who receives the Poetry Society Teachers' newsletter. For Poetry Society events, ring 0171 240 4810.

This is a "seeing only" poem - no thinking aloud, no dialogue, no sounds heard, no metaphor, no explicit positioning of the poet in relation to his subject. All the feeling and meaning comes to us from the stark, factual images, the steady rhythm (of feet?) eased along with alliteration, and the solo, stunning, wittily appropriate simile saved for the penultimate line, before slapping us in the face with the solid, final image. The poem is one grammatical breath and one walk from "men and women" to "factory", but in between we see what they will leave behind outside the Unilever works. Isn't it all about work and leisure? And freedom?

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