TES Young Poet of the week;Poem;Winter by David Puddle

12th February 1999 at 00:00
Tarnished light,



The sleek step, varnished by the frost-

Ringed sun,

Oiled, the day slid past.

Frozen bubbles floated

Like pale frigid stars,

Dead ribbons of lilies,

Bullrushes drowned like loaded rockets,

Jagged cracks in the frozen, glimmering


So ominous.

The frozen dew,

Suffocating the frost-bitten grass,

In the silent tense of the garden.

* David Puddle

David has taken a lot of risks with his language in "Winter", and that's why I like it. The fact that it doesn't make strict prose-sense is neither here nor there. That's not what it's about. It seems more about an attempt to trap the essence of days when sound seems to stop and colours (there are none in the poem) "varnish" to a "frost-bitten" mirror of "tarnished light".

I enjoy "The sleek step...Oiled, the day slid past": it suggests to me black ice. I also like the "pale frigid stars,Dead ribbons of lilies", which suggest to me a reading of Sylvia Plath. I think "Bullrushes drowned like loaded rockets" is a high-risk line, because "drowned" could easily have gone at the end of the line instead; it might even have made better sense. But I'm not complaining. If a child handed me this at the end of a workshop I'd be delighted: it's the work of a very individual and alive imagination.

Anthony Wilson

* David Puddle, aged 10, receives 'Classic Poetry' selected by Michael Rosen (Walker Books). His poem was submitted by Bobby Kay of Ducklington Primary School, Oxfordshire, 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-author of 'The Poetry Book for Primary Schools' (Poetry Society)

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