Walking into Oakwell

4th December 1998 at 00:00
It was the boldness of the opening that attracted me to Emma Parry's poem, and the fact that she knew that, having such a surprising idea, it was best to express it simply. I also like the confident ending, a line of repetition. Oakwell, near Batley, is a wonderful country park, and whenever I go there it is like entering a different world; such places are like books, a pleasure waiting for us. What's more, it takes a kind of passive energy to get into a book, which Emma describes very well in terms of taking her walk, where we make a conscious effort to listen and watch, before we give ourselves up to the experience, before what seemed inert begins to show us there is life going on there that we can share in. Notice how she says "listen" before "watch", so we know it is dark in among the trees. And how, though that "world is peaceful", there is so much noise and movement going on. It's a paradox familiar to walkers and to readers, the sense of being at peace in among so much happening.


Walking into the trees is like walking into a book.

We go deeper and deeper in, we listen and watch, find the life inside everything.

The world is peaceful, everything dances deeper inside, the trees creep into the distance, fly further across the country.

Leaves swirl, drifting to the ground, bark crackling, crashing in and out, sparkling green in the sunlight, dancing, jumping through the night.

Flutter, flutter, flutter.


Emma Parry, aged 9, receives the 'The Poetry Book', edited by Fiona Waters (Orion). Submitted by Alison Chomanicz of Millbridge Junior, Infants and Nursery School, Liversedge, West Yorkshire, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems to 'The TES', Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Ann Sansom is writing tutor at Doncaster Women's Centre and is a part-time lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University

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