Young poet;The Wasp by Eleanor Rye;Poem

9th April 1999 at 01:00
A student teacher asked me the other day 'How do you improve children's poetry writing?' First, I replied, I make children write in short concentrated bursts as advocated by Ted Hughes more than 30 years ago in 'Poetry in the Making' (Faber). (If you don't own a copy, buy one immediately.) Second, I am not afraid to make comments on their writing, challenging everything from line-breaks to use of adjectives. And I believe in showing what I think are good models as well. Lastly, what I want from any poet, of any age, is an engagement with their material so that they make it change, or 'new' as Ezra Pound said. When I've finished reading it, I want to see the world, or even a tiny bit of it, in a different way from before. All of which explains why I like Eleanor Rye's poem so much. Thank you to her and all this term's young poets


A cheerful zebra flying around,

Like a power-cut or forgotten


He flies like a released balloon,

By then the room's inhabitants are


Like lights at night he lingers

The fleeting design; seemingly


He flies on, the disorientated leaf,

Trying to escape the perilous idea.

When disturbed he becomes the


And when the icy wind cuts in

It seems to last like a decimal third

As the knife torture carries on.

With a life the length of the holidays

He never has long to wait

Until he'll stop being the busybody,

And will become as still as space.

Eleanor Rye

Bouquet of the Week is given in association with Marks amp; Spencer. Names,

please, on a postcard - and why - to Sarah Bayliss, The TES, Admiral House,

66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY

Eleanor Rye, aged 12, receives 'Emergency Kit', edited by Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney (Faber). Submitted by Stephen Clutterbuck of the Chase High School, Malvern, Worcestershire, 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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