Jo Harvey has effectively dramatised an outburst of anger. The idea of the furious self as a double, a mirror image, or another woman closely related, makes a forceful poem and gives structure to the outpouring. 'My Woman of Anger' takes the form of a contest where both assailants seem equally powerful. I like the many strong evocations of anger -"Her dark eyes cried with blood." "Her still hands shot out bright flames." The idea of a "wig of anger" being attacked with scissors gives a sense of the theatrical and themetamorphosis undergone. The poem is cathartic - the contest ends with a hard won peace.
MONIZA ALVI Moniza Alvi, this term's guest poet, was born in Pakistan and brought up in Hertfordshire. She has published two collections, "The Country at My Shoulder" and "A Bowl of Warm Air".
My Woman of Anger
I was mad when I saw her
Screaming and kicking myself.
She stood like stone in the middle of my lake,
Not daring to move.
My shins were bleeding heavily,
Her dark eyes cried with blood.
My throat was like sandpaper,
Her still hands shot out bright flames.
My matted hair was thrown across my face,
Her hands moved and attacked her wig of anger with scissors.
My ripped scarf wrapped around my neck,
Her shredded dress blew wildly in the wind.
She dissolved into the lake.
The blood was carefully wiped,
The throat was rubbed gently with oil,
The hair was neatly combed,
The scarf was stitched up.
I returned to my peaceful self.
Jo Harvey, aged 12, receives 'Why is the Sky?' edited by John Agard (Faber). Submitted by Mary McCrae of James Allen's Girls' School, London, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. For Poetry Society events, ring 0171 240 2133.
Bouquet of the Week Names, please, on a postcard - and why - to Sarah Bayliss, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY