TES Young poet;Poem;The Reflection by Natalie Sellers

25th June 1999 at 01:00
I'm walking down the corridor.

I see another person

walking towards me

but I keep on going

and bump into the strange glass person.

Now I see him everywhere,

in a pond,

in a mirror,

in a newly-polished plate.

I'm walking in the garden.

I bend down to kiss a rose

but I find myself face-to-face

with a silver-foil person.

Now I see him everywhere

in an emerald,

in a stream,

in oil on the road.

I'm looking out of the window

with flowers on the curtain.

I try to spot my neighbour

but instead see a face

with eyes that are looking keen

as if looking for a friend.

But now I am his friend.

We play together,

but not the usual play,

we play by looking into each other's

gentle, wondering faces.

Natalie Sellers

The imagination and the development displayed here is quite remarkable in someone so young. The reflection, instead of becoming the self - the more predictable route - stays another person, which indicates both an empathy and an objectivity of perception. The reader is caught unaware by the "strange glass person" after the ordinariness of the first line, which later performs as a sort of refrain throughout. The poem then develops into a journey where the reflection is seen in many different guises. I liked the spontaneity in the line "I bend down to kiss a rose"; part of the line's beauty comes from its casual expression, as if this was something one does all the time. There's something dream-like about the ending "not the usual play", and I loved the tone of the line "we play by looking into each other'sgentle, wondering faces".

Eva Salzman

Natalie Sellers, 10, receives 'The Red-All-Over Riddle Book', by George Szirtes (Faber). Submitted by Susan Stanley-Carroll of Chiswick and Bedford Park preparatory school, London W4, 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, can be ordered by phoning 01454617370. A set of posters is available for pound;3.99

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