The lonely house described by Holly Powis, this week's young poet, is a strange, haunting place. Its atmosphere is conjured by a delicate music. I like the way each stanza is enclosed by full rhyme: tall and hall in the first, and stairs and pears in the second. There are other kinds of rhyme "twisting and turning" through the poem too. You hear vowel echoes all the time: tall and water; shakes, brake and break; haunted, floor and strawberries. There are plenty of surprises in this house.
I especially enjoyed the drunken crows and the rabbits braking into the hall. My first instinct told me the word "brake" was wrong, but then I started to picture the creatures crashing to an abrupt halt after scampering into the house, and saw how right the choice is. It's this kind of detail which persuades, which makes the strange real.
Jo Shapcott is the Poetry Society's poet on the Internet: http.www.PoetrySoc.com
A LONELY HOUSE
A lonely house stands tall
A dry water wheel shakes in the wind
Sheep run loose in the garden
And rabbits brake into the hall
"Break your neck" stairs
Twisted and turning
Lead to a haunted 3rd floor
Slugs climb over the strawberries
And crows get drunk on the pears
Thirteen-year-old Holly Powis receives Fatso in a Red Suit by Matthew Sweeney (Faber). Submitted by Jimmy Symonds of Hockerill Anglo-European School, Dunmow Road, Bishop's Stortford, Essex CM23 5HX, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teachers' notes. For Poetry Society events, ring 0171 240 2133