Young Poet;Poem;Concerto of Thunder in B Minor by Helen Mort

29th October 1999 at 01:00
Writing about something as if it is something else, using a language with which you are familiar, can be a productive and stimulating basis for a poem as 'Concerto of Thunder in B Minor' (what a great title!) testifies. Changes in the pace and the use of sound expertly suggest changes in the storm's intensity; 'Frenzied drumming to bore holes in your wall,' for example, 'Calm the rain to a jumpy staccato' and the last line, where 'distant bar lines' rhythmically evokes the storm's subsiding. The style of the poem, as if giving instructions on how a piece of music should be played, provides a satisfying sense of control over a powerful and potentially frightening natural force.


Let it start with a plop.

The tentative dripping of rain on your roof That beats a rhythm of tense pizzicato, Becoming bolder with every second.

Let it rush to a furious rhythm; Frenzied drumming to bore holes in your wall, The rain rising to a deafening crescendo.

Then, bring in the thunder.

Its bass rumbling to rattle your cage - To gnaw at the bonds that lock you in.

Let it boom with alto confidence Drowning the regular rhythm of rain As the skies shower you with sharps and flats.

Then, between crochets, bring in the static crack of lightning.

Occasionally, let the storm fade out, Slow the wild tempo to a faint rumble And calm the rain to a jumpy staccato.

You are lulled into a false sense of security.

The distant growls give you no warning of the climax ahead.

Lastly, slowly, as your ears relax into silent contentment Let the storm pounce in startling chords.

A conductor's flickering fingers milk your scream.

The final crescendo As the assault subsides to distant bar lines.

Helen Mort

Helen Mort, aged 13, receives 'Strictly Private', an anthology edited by Roger Mcgough (Puffin Teenage). Submitted by Mr Speed of Hasland Hall community school, Chesterfield. Cliff Yates is deputy head of Maharashi school, Skelmersdale, Lancashire, and Poetry Society poet-in-residence for Secondary Education. He has published 'Jumpstart: Poetry in the Secondary School' (The Poetry Society) and a collection of poems, 'Henry's Clock' (SmithDoorstop). Please send students' poems, preferably not more than 20 lines long, to 'The TES', Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX. The 'TES Book of Young Poets' (pound;.99), a selection of poems from this column with an introduction by Sian Hughes, can be ordered by phoning 01454 617370. A set of posters is available for pound;3.99.

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