I often get a kick out of poems which immerse the reader in a microscopically faithful view of things. This week's young poet, Rebecca Campbell, helps herself to get close to a cheese grater by imagining herself to be a piece of cheese.
Unless she'd looked as hard as any painter at her subject, she could never have come up with such accurate and surprising images to describe it. I shall never look at this particular kitchen implement again without seeing "little tunnelsOn a towering skyscraper". Many of the poems I'm sent are centred on the page like this one. Too often I'm not sure why and I worry that in some cases there's no good reason beyond the fact that the computer can do it quickly. In Rebecca's poem the centring adds something to the slithery feel of the lines which are set out long and short haphazardly: a bit like grated cheese perhaps?
Grated Cheese by Rebecca Campbell
I lie here on the table Waiting, waiting to be cut into thin slithers Here it comes, Many sharp edged circles And little tunnels On a towering skyscraper.
I'm picked up, Scraped along the shiny, silvery surface, I'm torn apart, Grazed and sore all over, As I get smaller and smaller.
Rebecca Campbell, aged nine, receives Fatso in a Red Suit by Matthew Sweeney (Faber). Submitted by Trudy Feltham of Neston county primary school, Corsham, Wiltshire, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teachers' notes. For Poetry Society events, ring 0171 240 2133. Jo Shapcott is the Poetry Society's poet on the Internet: http.www.PoetrySoc.com.