Young Poet of the Week

4th November 1994 at 00:00
BADLANDS

Where the horizon is sacred, because the ground knows its place and your footsteps last forever in the murderous sun a kid in a black car is marking his track with a shotgun head loaded with rebellion he smiles like a film star and lays another to waste while his bubble gum girlfriend drowns in his charm he's got a haircut and a trigger finger - and that's all he needs as he fires his frustrated screenplay into a bystander's back but the road that lasts forever and the misfit, windblown rocks will remain infinitely longer than the script written by his gun

By Jamie Huxley, age 16, who receives The Forward Book of Poetry, donated by Forward Publishing. Submitted by J Secombe of Bishop Luffa School, Chichester, West Sussex, who receives the BPTeacher's Poetry Resource file, published and donated by the Poetry Society. For Poetry Society events, ring 071 240 4810.

Rhythm, like a man striding the dusty street of every Western, replaces punctuation in this poem. The sound and beat are song-like. A beautiful opening idea is followed by images from films. Despite the lack of punctuation, the poem is built of three sentences, the first ending with "rebellion", the second with "charm". The final sentence, eight lines long, builds brilliantly towards the startling image of the script written by the gun. The poem shows how good syntax can manage without punctuation and is far more important.

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