Young poet

30th March 2001 at 01:00
My Box of Evil

* I will put in my box

The squeak of chalk upon a blackboard,

The sound of the school bell at nine o'clock,

The hoarse croak of Britney Spears.

* I will put in my box

The ache of the 'flu,

Five raw fingers numbed by cold,

All of Enid Blyton's books.

* I will put in my box

The drone of a teacher and

The smell of school dinners,

The exam that no one revised for.

* My box

Is as black as the evil lurking within,

With a heavy lid and teachers crushed in the corners,

Its hinges are rusty for want of use.

* I shall keep my box

Firmly shut and out of harm's way

Upon the tallest shelf I can find

Where no one can reach it.

Rhian Jones, 13, The British School of Paris, Croissy sur Seine, France.

Rhian's poem comes from a writing exercise of considerable pedigree, but I liked her light-hearted yet menacing interpretation.

The box can be seen as a metaphor for hell, the subconscious mind, or a parallel negative universe. In it the poet can place the ost abhorred of all her experiences. But to be hidden in the box of evil, they have first to be conjured into the poem.

It's nice to know that, even in Paris, a school dinner isn't exactly cordon bleu. And we can all sleep better now, knowing that Enid Blyton and Britney Spears have been placed safely out of harm's way. It's a pity about those teachers, though. But maybe the box will keep them safe from lesson plans, national curriculum key stage attainment targets, David Blunkett's next bright idea

Graham Mort

Rhian Jones receives Strictly Private, edited by Roger McGough (Puffin). Her poem was submitted by Beverly Biahic. 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, 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:

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