TES Young Poet of the Week

2nd May 1997 at 01:00
The knife drawer is shadowed by the towering plates stacked high, and even higher frying pans, with eyes that follow. An inspiring window shows now the banging of shutters, the floor seems to be a hole of darkness. Then the noise of kettles and cookers cries out to me and the dark hardboard table has many cracks in its open surface with the salt and pepper pots on the tilt, with sharp tops, sharp points in a bewitched room.

A picture is high up but it can be seen. It begins to move and shake, the walls are caving in, the lights are flashing, the drawers are smashing, the door is clattering - and then silence.

All apart from a scratching sound of the kitten's bowl being pushed behind my back, behind my back.

The letterbox is black and unnoticed by many, for its rustiness can cause a painful end to someone who is plagued by powerful rocky edges.

The curtains are enriched with a spiralled colour, a colour of wonder and fantasy. There is a feather on the wall, a peacock feather positioned where its dark blue eye can see all and nothing, where its long mane will show a devious trance to any passer-by and no mercy to a confronted stranger.


Andrew Ball, aged 15, receives The School Bag edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes (Faber). Submitted by Carole Warren of The Community College, Chumleigh, North Devon EX18 7AA, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teachers' notes. For Poetry Society events, ring 0171 240 2133.

Every once in a while a poem comes along which seems to break all the rules, but knocks your socks off anyway by the sheer scope of its imaginative world.

Poems like these are, perhaps, hardest for teachers and workshop leaders to work with. One's immediate instinct is to delve in, clean up the excess adjectives and steer the poem towards some kind of narrative logic. But sometimes it's best to stand back and let the poem work magic in its own way.

This week's choice, by 15-year old Andrew Ball of Chumleigh Community College, north Devon, has an extraordinary power. It is impossible to explain some of the wonderful phrases, such as "someone who is plagued by powerful rock edges" - but you can feel exactly what he means.

Jo Shapcott is the Poetry Society's poet on the Internet: hhtp.www. Poetry Soc.com

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