Young poet

25th September 1998 at 01:00
You don't get many poems about didgeridoos, though actually Alexander's poem seems to be more about the player than the instrument, and compares well with the hundreds of poems on subjects such as war, famine, racism where the writer hasn't engaged with the material but only some abstract idea of it.

What's great about "Didgeridoo" is that it starts with the thing itself and just sees or hears what happens when you play it in language. For all its mournful quality, you feel that the poet really enjoyed the writing, discovering what the poem was about as he went on. It's an unusual poem: concise, confident, the last stanza particularly assured. Unusual too in that the short lines are actually working, and those present participles, far from sounding conventional or poetical, sound, read aloud, like a didgeridoo.

More poems like this, please, that have the courage of their own ideas, and enjoy using language, rather than setting out to versify a topic.

Didgeridoo. The howling and wailing of echoing noises blending together reverberating, reverberating like the wild cries of burnt mother nature in the red dust.

The tranquil thunder of the emptiness deafens through the hollow tunnel, almost taken away with the beauty of his breath.

Alone with his thousand neighbours he imitates and mocks them. To him the world is breathless.

Alexander Thornton

Alexander Thornton, aged 10 when he wrote the poem in 1997, receives 'The Poetry Book', edited by Fiona Waters (Orion). Submitted by David Ford of Claremont Far Court Middle School, Esher, Surrey, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send 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. Her collections include 'Romance' (Bloodaxe)

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