Young poet;Poem;Bup by Patrick Goodrich

24th September 1999 at 01:00
They walk in jerking,

Look unnatural,

Once seated they proceed with their business,

methodically throwing up brown liquid.

They look happy

As they gather ash from a small glass bowl.

They're constructing a white stick

Whilst sucking in clouds from the air.

A waitress walks over with the same strange gait,

She puts out more empty glasses for the customers to fill,

Once full they give them back to her.

She gives them each money for their work.

Enough is enough and

When the packet is full of white sticks,

And the glass bowl is spotless

They walk one last time past the bar

And leave facing it,

As the doors fly open at the sight of their backs.

Patrick Goodrich

Patrick Goodrich has read poems by Fleur Adcock and Michael Laskey about film running backwards. This is a useful subject for a poem; it encourages the writer to slow down and observe ordinary events as if they were strange and unfamiliar. 'Bup' gains in confidence as it progresses. The ironic 'Enough is enough and...' pushes the reader on, picking up momentum in preparation for that wonderful last line which combines pace, observation and humour, forcing the reader to pay attention and to return to the inspired title. I'd suggest tightening up the first 3 stanzas, (leaving out the first line of the second stanza), and focusing entirely on the heart of the poem - the characters' apparently bizarre relationship with the physical world.

CLIFF YATES

Patrick Goodrich has read poems by Fleur Adcock and Michael Laskey about film running backwards. This is a useful subject for a poem; it encourages the writer to slow down and observe ordinary events as if they were strange and unfamiliar. 'Bup' gains in confidence as it progresses. The ironic 'Enough is enough and...' pushes the reader on, picking up momentum in preparation for that wonderful last line which combines pace, observation and humour, forcing the reader to pay attention and to return to the inspired title. I'd suggest tightening up the first 3 stanzas, (leaving out the first line of the second stanza), and focusing entirely on the heart of the poem - the characters' apparently bizarre relationship with the physical world.

CLIFF YATES

Patrick Goodrich, age 17, receives 'Emergency Kit', edited by Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney. His poem was sent in by Carole Bromley, All Saints RC school, Mill Mount Lane, York . Cliff Yates is deputy head of Maharishi School and Poetry Society poet-in-residence for Secondary Education. He has published 'Jumpstart:Poetry in the Secondary School' (Poetry Society) and a collection of his own poems, 'Henry's Clock' (SmithDoorstop). Please send poems, preferably not more that 20 lines long, to The Times Educational Supplement, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY , including the poet's name and age, the name of the submitting teacher and the school address. The 'TES Book of Young Poets' (pound;9.99), a selection of poems from this column with an introduction by Sian Hughes, can be ordered by phoning 01454617370. A set of posters is available for pound;3.99

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