Young poet

16th February 2001 at 00:00
* His pissed-up face

turns my brain cold.

He cackles. Again.

* The crash smashes

into memory: she lurches,

splintered glass;

redness staining her white shirt.

* Wreckage rests

sootily by the A56.

It should have been him.

* My feet leave my bed.

I'm dressed in that top,

those trousers he said

turned him on.

* My heels scrape the pavement.

Her face peers

from the window:

pale cheeks, pleading eyes,

a straight line where her smile used to be.

"Do it," she whispers.

* Cold metal against my thigh.

I keep walking: left, right.

The stars shut their eyes.

* Through the door, air is stale.

Fingerprints on the bar.

He's there, his fat lips quivering.

He sups another pint.

* I swim through voices toward him,

slide my body against his.

Vodka burns my throat and we leave

amongt the knowing smiles.

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Sam Stockdale, 17, St Aidan'sSt John Fisher associated sixth form, Harrogate

This is a wonderfully taut narrative, which chillingly evokes past, present and future events. Every word earns its keep and the reader is able to piece together the whole story from its fragments. Enough - the poem says it all!

Graham Mort

Sam Stockdale receives Emergency Kit, edited by Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney (Faber). Graham Mort, a freelance writer and tutor, is TES guest poet for this term. 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:

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today