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Young poet

Christmas 4000 (One starry night.... ) Santa had just boomed out loud A sound as big as a thunder cloud "YOUR'E FIRED!" was the message clear To the innocent reindeer!

Santa put the boosters on - as the crystal stars shone.

James Ford, 8,St Augustine's RC primary and nursery school, Nottingham

James Ford manages to roll the worlds of work, of technology, of the 21st century, of childhood, the heavens and the distant future all into one delightful, bouncy poem. Every word is spot on. From the dramatic beginning, "One starry nightI", we know he is a natural storyteller. The use of the pluperfect in "had just boomed" and little adverb "just" tucked in there add to the drama; and with the simile of the third line and the repeated booing of "loud", "sound", "cloud". The pressure continues to mount.

Then, exactly in the middle of the poem, comes the climactic direct speech, in quotation marks, followed by the grand inversion ("the message clear") and the second rhyme.

This is followed by the denouement of line six - the long "oo" in boosters reverberating with the "boomed" of line two, giving the effect of a Ha-ha! from Santa. Then the dying fall of "as the crystal stars shone", and the poem dissolves in a shower of "s's".

"Christmas 4000" is bursting with sparkle and fun and I am sure everyone reading it will enjoy it as much as I did. SUPPORT THE INNOCENT REINDEERS, I say!

Incidentally, reindeer is one of the oldest words in the language, from Old Lappish, the language of the Lapps (the word Lapp itself being a term of contempt, in Swedish, for dwarfs, I'm sorry to say.) Selima Hill James Ford receives The Oldest Girl in the World by Carol Ann Duffy (Faber). His poem was submitted by Bill Lewis. Selima Hill, TESguest poet for the current term, won this year's Whitbread poetry prize for Bunny and is the only poet to have been nominated for all the major poetry prizes - the Forward, the Whitbread and the TSEliot. She is a tutor for the Poetry School and the South Bank Centre, and is currently working on her eighth collection, Portrait of My Lover as a Horse. Please send poems, no longer than 20 lines, to Friday magazine, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX. Include the poet's name, age and address, the name of the submitting teacher and the school address. Or email:

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