Young Poet;Poem;South African Fruit by James Euesden;Features and arts

26th November 1999 at 00:00
I was born under a shallow red flag

Amid tattered vinyl and stacks of Observers

We drove cars with character

To peat bogs with character

We hung sheets across the windows

And draped curtains over chairs

I rested uneasily, an angry infant

Too young for football or Marx

I staged aerial battles

With my Fisher-Price Airport

And fought duels 'gainst my brother

With bananas and bread

I remember your house

With the Bamp;Q kitchen

Apolitical sofas and emotive chairs

I remember waiting in Tescos

Sandwiched between Middle England

Hands clutched to South African fruit

The skirted swastika

I'd thought was your mother

Was still smiling, no regret and no shame

She coaxed me into eating that 'Apple of Eden'

As I sat nervously

In the Bamp;Q kitchen

I returned home at seven

And flicked beads at the cat

James Euesden

The benefits of a regular poetry-writing group and a visit to the Arvon Foundation at Lumb Bank are evident in a strong batch of poems from the pupils of All Saints' School. James Euesden writes with gentle satire and relish about a familiar world view from the 1980s. Setting is precisely created by the strategic use of detail: 'tattered vinyl and stacks of Observers...We hung sheets across the windowsand draped curtains over chairs' The young child's unease is stated with irony in 'aerial battlesWith my Fisher-Price Airport' and 'duels' with 'bananas and bread'. I'd suggest dropping the archaic "gainst', and the condemnatory 'skirted swastika' which seems out of character. I'm impressed by the control of'nervouslyIn the Bamp;Q kitchen', the dramatic 'Hands clutched to South African fruit' and the brooding tension of 'flicked beads at the cat'.

CLIFF YATES

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