TES Young Poet of the week;Poem;Offering by Grace Bucknill

22nd January 1999 at 00:00
He has offered me a sparrow.

What more could I ask?

Thousands of feathers

Ruffle. A wallet for a heart.

I am gathered like a fly

To touch its wing.

"You are worth much more"

He whispers "You are"

I smell a fossil in autumn

With the sea rushing in.

And grating sand

On a raincoat: salt-grey.

He has offered me a sparrow.

Grace Bucknill

* One of the things I say to pupils when taking workshops in schools is that I want them to surprise themselves with their own daring, as Laurence Olivier used to say.

For me, Grace Bucknill's "Offering" falls into this category, it being a series of charged, sensual images that evoke desire touched by loss. I'm not sure whose wallet is being referred to, but I like the metaphor. And "gathered like a fly" carries a suggestion of entrapment, which provides a nice sense of tension, keeping mawkishness at bay. I also like the way the poem moves through sounds, smells, textures and colours in the last six lines, leading us to read the repeated first line at the end with a very different feeling from when we first encountered it.

Anthony Wilson

Grace Bucknill, aged 17, receives 'Emergency Kit', edited by Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney (Faber) . Submitted by Carol Bromley of All Saints' RC School in York, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems to 'TES' Young Poet, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Anthony Wilson is Poetry Society poet-in-residence for primary education, and the author of 'How Far From Here Is Home?' (Stride) and co-edited 'The Poetry Book for Primary Schools' (Poetry Society).

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