TES young poet;Love Letter;Poem by Osob Mahdi Dahir

2nd July 1999 at 01:00
* Death, I must confess, to you my heart belongs.

Years I have desired to be swept away by your eternal spirit.

Finally I feel the moment coming.

Numb with pain, I smile.

Maybe my next blink will remain closed...

Could my next breath not return.

* On the edge,

My feet realise they are on foreign ground.

Neck getting stiffer by the minute.

I shake with fever as pen scratches paper And they think it's the flu,

But I feel Prince Charming is putting Sleeping Beauty to sleep.

Osob Mahdi Dahir

Teenagers are the great exponents of poems about death - this being an adolescent's favourite subject, other than love and sex of course. Usually such poems resort to cliches and high drama, somewhat comical in one so young. However, the tenor of this poem seems authentic, mature and deeply felt, without being overwrought. The first line is striking for its use of love phraseology, and the last line for the way it turns on its head the Sleeping Beauty story. The writer imagines very convincingly the small details of eyes closing and breath stopping; I particularly liked the lyrical use of "return" in this line. Despite the inherent drama, the tone of voice is surprisingly and chillingly controlled, as if the writer has been intimately familiar with death long before its reality.

Eva Salzman

Osob Mahdi Dahir, 15, receives 'Sounds Good: 101 Poems to be Heard', edited by Christopher Reid (Faber). Sent in by Erminia Pamannanti,of Mander Portman Woodward College, London, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems, preferably no longer than 20 lines, to 'TES' Young Poet, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY Eva Salzman is writer-in-residence at the Bromley-by-Bow Centre in east London. She has published two volumes of poetry: "Bargain with the Watchman" (Oxford University Press) and "The English Earthquake" (Bloodaxe) The TES Book of Young Poets (pound;9.99), a selection of poems from this column, with an introduction by Sian Hughes, can be ordered by phoning 01454617370. A set of posters is available for pound;3.99

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