A Fiery Fish Imagine a flexible nugget of gold Or silver, its orange glittering.
Shaped like a darting bullet Richocheting off the shiny walls.
With scales, layered like an onion And an open mouth, gaping like a cave.
They say it lived in a glass, water land And had a seven second memory span.
This beast died out with mankind But it lives on, it is a legend.
The fish is commanded into being by the poet, flickering into life out of a series of images concluding with the creature "gaping like a cave". When the past tense is used, "They say it lived in a glass water land", we are surprised. What was dead is made alive, and again killed by that "lived". However, I would like to ban the phrase "it lived on" from all future poems. I have read it a thousand times, at least.
By Nick Brookes, age 16, who receives The Forward Book of Poetry, donated by Forward Publishing. Submitted by David Eccles, head of English at Beaumont Leys School, Leicester, who receives the BPTeacher's Poetry Resource file, published and donated by the Poetry Society. For Poetry Society events, ring 071 240 4810.
Matthew Sweeney will be the guest poet next term. Once again, the Poetry Society has kindly agreed to shortlist the entries and to donate BPTeachers' Poetry Resource Files for chosen work. Please send poems by November 25 to The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY, stating the name and address of the school, the name and age of the pupil and the teacher's name. Poems should not exceed 20 lines. Submitted work cannot be returned.