Young poet;Poem;Transformed, Somehow by Jenny Mayo

18th June 1999 at 01:00
* You and I,

Almost changed.

* My soul tingles for freedom.

So let us walk the streets

Where dead men have lost their bones,

And let us soar together

With your soft silk scarf and violin bow

Up through the mountains,

Where we shall gather lilacs

To place in yellow bowls

Like memories.

* My red chair is ready,

By the fire, my cat is curled

Like warmth.

* Somehow

We are almost changed,

You and I.

Jenny Mayo

Although the poet does not permit us access to the plain facts that initiated the poem, I was attracted by the writer's desire for transcendence and her expression of yearning and excitement - the inexpressible which we are always compelled to try to express.

The paired "soft silk scarf and violin bow" seem to belong together somehow, and their partnership creates the kind of appealing mystery that defines much of the poetry I like best. Would not the long sound made by a violin bow resemble a scarf? There's something almost teasing in the mystery of the final images of the red chair and the cat, and I fell for that too. I equally liked the trick of reversing the objects - the "lilacsTo place in yellow bowls" - and their ensuing simile, the "memories". For young writers to incorporate versions of famous writers' lines into their own work ("Where dead men have lost their bones" remains in Eliot's ownership) is not only acceptable, in my opinion, but absolutely beneficial, especially when it is unconsciously done. The process of becoming a writer involves absorbing the memorable and lingering sounds of language and literature; these become more and more integrated and then finally, as if by magic, transformed into the writer's own voice. This poem obviously arises from powerful impulses - dare I say heart and soul? - but the writer also has a good sense of line and line-breaks.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now