Young poet

25th February 2000 at 00:00
The train wobbles from side to side,

Like a swing that a child has played on.

Cows are in the newly-ploughed field,

It's as orange as the fruit in the orchard.

Trees with their thick, brown trunks, bumpy and rough.

And leaves changing colours as Autumn moves in.

Fences, curling like string - metal and wooden,

Barbed-wire-topped, like newly-curled hair.

Sheep on the hillside, woollen coats

White as newly-fallen snow.

The houses look small when you're way up high,

With their tiled and sloping roofs.

Tunnels are thick with darkness,

Like a black labrador's fur.

The bushes carrying the berries

Glisten as red as blood.

And the train wobbles from side to side,

Like a swing a child has played on.

Adam Kaye, 11, Wilthorpe junior school, Barnsley.

Easy to surmise this was written on a train while the world rolled by the window so quickly that the poet had to trust his eye: how else hit on just the right images: the "bushes carrying the berries" for instance or those tunnels "thick with darkness"? We see so much from this window: the ploughed feld which proves the journey's real (or you wouldn't notice it looks orange) and the orchard it's likened to; we see the fences and their simile, the string; the barbed wire and the curly hair. Seeing the small houses we notice the valley the train looks down on . The image of the swing opens and closes the poem like quotation marks, suggesting that this train ride is a sort of play (as poems are) and which, like poems, is separate from the world it describes, quite unable to warn the farmer about the cows that have got into his field.

Peter Sansom. Adam Kaye receives Strictly Private, edited by Roger McGough (Puffin). His poem was submitted by Martina Keane. Peter Sansom has published the handbook, Writing Poems, with Bloodaxe. His third Carcanet collection, partly about his Poetry Society Marks and Spencer residency, is published this year. Please send poems, not more than 20 lines, to Young Poet, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BXThe TES Book of Young Poets (pound;9.99), a selection of poems from this column, can be ordered by phoning 01454 617370. A set of posters is available for pound;3.99

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