Young poet

19th January 2001 at 00:00
The Four Seasons Spring by Vivaldi The music spoke of happiness like dolphins jumping up and down in the sea.

The music wove a big wave in the bright blue sea.

The music created cats to purr and purr, kittens to smile and smile.

The music whispered amongst the great roaring of the lion.

The music sang to the joyful laughing of children playing in the fields.

The music built up the chatting of the workmen.

The music painted the swooping of the owl.

The music sighed as it began to puff and pant because of the way it was singing.

Very soon its voice was lost.

Efe Gere, 8, Sharps Copse junior school, Havant, Hampshire

I loved this poem for its gift of life. Based on a classic writing exercise and working within a given structure, Efe has found her own voice and made it ring with synaesthetic energy.

Beginning with assured statements which reflect the bold opening of Vivaldi's tribute to spring, the poem develops a series of images which have tremendous rhythm and imaginative force. This is reinforced by repetition, a Biblical turn of phrase and strong verbs which drive the poem on.

The ending is surprising, wistful and resigned; the music is swallowed up, exhausted through its own cretive effort into silence. Re-reading the work, we find this prefigured in the "big wave", "the roaring of the lion", "the swooping of the owl".

The poem sent me back to my recording of Vivaldi. I was struck by how the music wanes through sheer spent exuberance, exactly as Efe describes. A poem about music expresses the urgency of life made piquant by impending loss. Its simplicity and clarity of diction show real accomplishment. It does what all good poems do - makes familiar things important in new ways.

Graham Mort Efe Gere receives The Puffin Book of 20th Century children's Verse, edited by Brian Patten. Her poem was submitted by V O'Byrne. Graham Mort is TES guest poet for this term. A freelance writer and tutor, his latest collection, Circular Breathing (Dangaroo Press), is a Poetry Book Society recommendation. Please send poems, no longer than 20 lines, to Friday magazine, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX. Include the poet's name, age and address, the name of the submitting teacher and the school address. Or email: fridaytes.co.uk 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


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