Young Poet;Poem;World by Alison Gray

12th March 1999 at 00:00
Behind the blackboard of the universe

The pencil case of Jupiter

Down under the books of the sun

Next door to the oceans of paper

Beneath the exploding volcano

Classrooms rumble

Alison Gray

"World" came from a workshop exercise devised by Phil Bowen called Under the Heart of the Sun, which uses Simon Armitage's poem "Cloudcuckooland". It can be found in "The Poetry Book for Primary Schools" (The Poetry Society). The idea is to draw up a list of prepositions ("beneath", "next door to", etc) and use them to fuse objects and places, which otherwise would never meet, into strange new metaphors. It works best if you meld ordinary objects with landscapes beyond our reach: space, mountains, continents, etc.

Alison's "World" is definitely recognisable as the world of school. I love the overstuffed "pencil case of Jupiter", "the oceans of paper", the universe as blackboard. And isn't there something slightly cheeky in that "exploding volcano"? Who does it remind you of?

Anthony Wilson

Alison Gray, aged 10, receives 'Classic Poetry', selected by Michael Rosen (Walker Books). Submitted by Muriel Stonebridge of Rockwell Green C of E primary school, Wellington, Somerset, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems to 'TES' Young Poet, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Anthony Wilson is Poetry Society poet-in-residence for primary education, and the author of 'How Far From Here Is Home?' (Stride) and co-author of 'The Poetry Book for Primary Schools' (Poetry Society)

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