Young poet;Poem;Omey Island by Patrick McEvoy

17th September 1999 at 01:00
Silent is Omey in a deep green rocking cradle

Her eyes are ever shut

Her moss bound knights are chiming in Agony

Her sandy coat is full of rolling pebbles

The noise gradually dies away

The grinding stops

The raving stops

She has not failed, yet never will

A white gem mist surrounds the island

The sympathetic sea gave up

The twilight of morning bursts through the tiresome clouds

Solemnly the wind stops

A weeping wreck of a boat lies dead on the shore

Her sandy bays are flooded with lost possessions

Dawn has come

Patrick McEvoy

Patrick McEvoy seems to have captured the spirit of Omey Island in this hypnotic poem. "Her moss bound knights" is a powerful image, and "weeping wreck of a boat" avoids sentimentality because it is visually accurate. It is always worth reading through a poem and taking out any words that don't earn their place. I'd suggest taking out lines 8 and 15 (we know it's morning, thanks to line 11). Also, removing the auxiliary verbs from the second, third and fourth lines would sustain the incantatory rhythm established by the arresting first line. This is a remarkable poem from such a young poet, and if I ever get the chance to visit Omey Island, I will.

Cliff Yates

Patrick McEvoy (nine) receives "The Puffin Book of Twentieth-Century Children's Verse" edited by Brian Patten. Submitted by Mrs Murphy of St Dunstans RC School, Kings Heath, Birmingham, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems, no longer than 20 lines, to TES Young Poet, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Cliff Yates is deputy head of Maharishi School, Skelmersdale, Yorkshire, and the Poetry Society's 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)

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