There are brave poems which explore difficult issues. Tejiri Eduvie focuses on her changing relationship with her parents as she grows up and takes responsibility for her own life. She recreates two scenes from childhood in vivid detail. She watches her father shaving -"Up, down and across my eyes would gowith the razor's every stroke" - and her mother at her dressing table "Combing her high afro, into shape". These specific memories of parents anchor her writing and give substance to her more general reflections. Tejiri has written a courageous poem.
Moniza Alvi, this term's guest poet, was born in Pakistan and brought up in Hertfordshire. She has published two collections, "The Country at My Shoulder" and "A Bowl of Warm Air".
PARENTS, MY PARENTS
Children so innocent and free
That was me
At the early age of infancy
A child with nothing but respect and admiration
For its parents.
I remember contemplating my father, at the sink with a razor
And white bubbles around his face,
Foaming with embrace
Up, down and across my eyes would go,
With the razor's every stroke
I wanted to have facial hairs, so I could shave like my dad.
To me my dad was a brain, a mathematical genius
I loved maths too.
My mum, I'd watch with absolute concentration:
At the dressing table she'd sit
Placing make-up on her face with care and attention.
Combing her high afro, into shape.
I wanted an afro.
Her nursing equipment, how engaged and curious I was about it.
Her high heels
Click click click
I idolised her.
It's astonishing how things change.
Now I see my parents differently.
They have become not so much of an amazement to me.
I have discovered reality.
Reality hidden behind closed curtains of a play room.
The play room in which there are no complications.
Just children playing
And having fun.
I have grown, an unstoppable process.
I see and hear more.
The close curtains are opening.
And my parents cannot hold them shut
Responsibility is flowing in, like
Water flowing towards the sea.
My parents I love so dear
Cannot protect me anymore
From the impact of life so very, very near.
Tejiri Eduvie, aged 14, receives "The Country at My Shoulder" by Moniza Alvi (OUP). Submitted by Lindsay Nash of Waverly School, south London, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems to The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY