Young poet

4th May 2001 at 01:00
* I started life in the imagination,

Then I made it to a doodle.

But I had a dream of stardom.

* I got there, to the studio,

The colours of the paints,

The other pictures were great, amazing.

I was on the paper, (sky)

But I had no life, no colour.

* Then I saw him,

The man, the painter.

He was my creator,

He was my dad.

* Two days later I was finished.

I had a voice.

I was off to the movies.

* I was there. I was in,

I was seeing stars.

* I hit the big screen.

I felt on top of the world,

Nothing could stop me.

* But then it happened.

The film was bad.

It wasn't even worth 110000000 of a star,

My life was over.

* My dreams had broken,

I went back to the imagination, a sketch,

But I still had hope,

Hope that one day I would be back.

Alex Flatman, 12, Hartismere high school, Suffolk

Poetry should make us see things freshly. "The Story of the Cartoon" is wittily original: it mkes us imagine what it would feel like to be a doodle with ambition, to try for a hit at the movies, then flop, but still dream of stardom. The doodle has a convincing voice, full of expectation and excitement. The subject is unusual and funny, and in Alex Flatman's hands it is universal and moving. Most of us experience the highs and the lows, the hopes and the disappointments that this doodle has gone through. That's all folks!


Alex Flatman receives The Oldest Girl in the World, by Carol Ann Duffy (Faber). Her poem was submitted by Sarah Gray. Jackie Kay's most recent collection of poetry for children, The Frog who Dreamed She was an Opera Singer, won the Signal Award. A new collection of short stories, Trout Friday, will be published next year by Picador. Please send poems, no longer than 20 lines, to Friday magazine, 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

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