TES Young Poet Of The Week

22nd March 1996 at 00:00

Who is a gypsy and tells lies?

Who is holy and eats fries?

Who is clever, wise and dumb?

Who has two fingers but no thumb?

Who eats pasta, short and long?

Who goes to China and Hong Kong?

Who is small and has big thighs?

Who eats things like apple pies?

Who drinks petrol every day?

Who makes mirrors out of clay?

Who eats curtains of orange silk?

Who eats cornflakes with no milk?

Who eats bars of Milky Way?

Who is standing up all day?

Who drives around in a Ford Capri?

Who swims up the river and climbs down a tree?

Who eats dog meat until they die?

Who eats peanuts mixed with pie?

Who swings on match stick swings?

I don't know who does these things!

By Robin Hulbert, aged 10

As a rule, the sign that a beginner has genuine original talent is that he is more interested in playing with words than in saying something original. "

WH Auden (from his essay "Writing")

Though the first line is unfortunate (if I were Robin's teacher, I would advise him to leave the gypsies out of it), I enjoy this young poet's playfulness, as well as his sense of rhythm. If he hasn't already discovered them, I urge him to read the poems of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, and to look in the library for anthologies of nonsense verse.

Robin Hulbert receives The Orchard Book of Funny Poems, compiled by Wendy Cope. Submitted by Mrs T. Feltham of Neston County Primary School, Wiltshire, who wins the Poetry Society's teachers' newsletter. For more information about Poetry Society events, telephone 0171 240 4810.

This is Wendy Cope's last choice for TES Young Poet of the Week.

Please send in poems as soon as possible for next term when the guest poet will be Philip Gross. His collection for teenagers, Scratch City, was published by Faber last year and his earlier book of poems for young people, The All-Night Cafe (also Faber) won the Signal Award in 1993.

Philip Gross, a novelist and playwright as well as a poet for both adults and children, has run workshops in schools for 10 years and is a lecturer in creative studies at Bath College of Higher Education. His new novel, Transformer, will be published later this year in Scholastic's Point Horror series.

Poems up to 20 lines long, on any subject, should be sent to The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Please include the poet's name, age and school address and the teacher's name.

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