This is a very enjoyable piece of writing, sophisticated and self-aware, and in no way outfaced by the Jenny Joseph poem that inspired it. In fact, it seems to respond to its famous forebear, not least in the ending and in the lines about Hallowe'en, where she declines the role of witch, or wise woman, in favour of the missing human link. I like the on-the-run quality of the rhyme, and the varying metre, which owes something to the epigrammatic jauntiness of a limerick's amphibrachs and anapests. The combination of craft and amused imagination in Goldberry Miller's poem really does make it her poem, not just a classroom exercise, and a satisfying statement in its own right.
When I am an old woman, I shall wrestle black bears before breakfast, to loosen my arthritic bones.
Swim nude in the brook before sunrise.
and grow oak trees inside my home.
I'll live in the mountains and forests, with an old wizened man at my side, I'll go to the fairground in summer, and scream with delight, every ride.
I'll never grow tired of popcorn, and buy a bmx bike, to ride all over my forests and give trespassing children a fright.
I'll grow grass on the roof of my cottage, and paint my walls purple and pink.
Hallowe'en? I'll dress up as a caveman, They'll call me the mad missing link.
And when my life's nearly over, I'll look back and think, what fun!
Yet how many years sadly wasted, oh, how boring it is to be young.
Goldberry Miller, aged 14, receives 'The New Poetry,' edited by Michael Hulse, David Kennedy and David Morley (Bloodaxe). Submitted by Elaine Morrison of St Andrew's High School, East Kilbride, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send poems to 'The TES', Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Ann Sansom is writing tutor at Doncaster Women's Centre and is a part-time lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. Her collections include 'Romance' (Bloodaxe)