Young poet

24th March 2000 at 00:00

It was a lamborghini.

I thought it was a lamborghini.

It looked like it was shaking or maybe it was me.

I threw something like a stone at the glass or plastic window or maybe it was a door.

I kicked something round, I think it was a ball or maybe an orange.

It hit the top of the car, I think that's called a roof, but I wasn't too sure.

There was a big tree behind it.

It was an oak tree.

I'm sure it was an oak tree.

Peter Sansom, TESFriday's guest poetrycritic, writes: Like one of those Ben Nicholson paintings of a jug or a boat, you can't say this poem is abstract, but at the same time it's not figurative either. It is very nearly the sort of poem we're used to and know how to deal with. It isn't surreal, or absurd, and it's certainly not nonsense verse. The third and fourth lines allow us to make it make sense, if we want, where "maybe it was me" means both "maybe I was shaking" and "maybe it only looked to me like it was shaking", and where both lead the reader to suppose theres something wrong with the narration. Like certain paintings or pieces of music, "Confession" is as much about perception as it is about what is being perceived - about habits of perception, and about the instability of language. Some such interpretation may be offered, but what the reader responds to with this poem is its energy and verve, much as we do with certain paintings or pieces of music.

Christian Kirkham receives Strictly Private, edited by Roger McGough (Puffin). His poem was submitted by Ruby Khan. 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, TES Friday, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX The 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

Christian Kirkham, 13, Ducie high school,Manchester

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