Emily Ham, nine, Cwmdu school, Crickhowell, Powys
Take the soul of the moon
Take the essence of a voice
Whirl them through the caverns of space
To make the wolf's mournful howl.
The face shows betrayal...
The deep gold eyes
That stare through the darkness
To discover night's secrets
Look away from man with fear.
The ears are alert to hear
The pitter patter of snow
Above the roar of a waterfall.
A nose that twitches
As the scent of pine needles is disturbed.
White fangs are bared - and men are scared
By wolf's power.
Yet it does not want war,
Let the wolf live in peace, for evermore.
There's a wonderful, expansive energy to Emily's poem which conjures the wolf before our very eyes from elements of the universe itself. This mythical creature's history reaches back beyond ours to the origins of time. But the wolf brings with it an ancient sorrow: man and persecution.
This almost abstract, visionary wolf is then re-defined through its physical presence - its eyes, ears, paws, nose and fangs. I love the "pitter patter" of snow which suggests the swirl of flakes and the movement of the wolf's paws through the forest.
Yet the technique of the poem rescues it from mere polemic. It moves with surety through rhymes which balance briefly then slink on like the movement of the wolf itself. The poem invokes and embodies its subject matter, showing us a glimpse of life pushed to the far edge of our world.
Emily Ham receives The Puffin Book of 20th Century Children's Verse, edited by Brian Patten. Her poem was submitted by Mrs Wormleighton. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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