Young poet

25th May 2001 at 01:00
The boy with the hearing aid could now hear sounds

that he couldn't hear before.

Like the dripping of a tap,

and a man putting on his hat,

the washing machine spinning,

in the playground, a swing swinging.

He's outside playing and hears a noise of a car beeping.

Sitting on a bench he hears a little girl weeping.

Walking in the wood leaves crunching on the ground.

The wind whistling in his ears, blowing the leaves round and round.

The birds singing from the trees and the bees

buzzing with glee.

How happy he feels with the new sounds he hears.

Rochaan Virdee, 10, Deadworth middle school, Windsor

It's a fresh idea, particularly for primary-aged children, to write a poem that focuses on just one of the senses - or to imagine life without one of the senses. Rochaan Virdee's poem creates a world of different noises, detailing the sounds that return with the hearing aid. They are so specific we are convinced that this has really happened to the boy.

The poem takes us through each sound using the present continuous tense to carry the sound on - "swinging", "spinning", "weeping" "blowing". Each sound paints a small picture - "a little girl weeping". The poem builds on each image, making music out of ordinary things, so that we too become involved in the boy's fresh ability to hear. The great use of rhyme and assonance reminds us of the sounds word themselves make.

"The Boy with Hearing Aid" is a touching poem that luxuriates in sound.

Jackie Kay Rochaan Virdee receives The Oldest Girl in the World by Carol Ann Duffy (Faber). His poem was submitted by Rod Harvey. Jackie Kay is the TES guest poetry critic for the current term. Her most recent collection of poetry for children, The Frog who Dreamed she was an Opera Singer, won the Signal Award. A new set of short stories, Trout Friday, will be published next year by Picador. 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: The TESBook of Young Poets (pound;9.99), a selection of poems from this column, can be ordered on 0145 617370. A set of posters costs pound;3.99

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