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Young Poet;For River by Helen Hubbard;Poem

Receiving this magical poem made a very good start to my day. Helen Hubbard has captured the vibrant and elemental in Grace Nichols' style. This river, babbling along and making its way to the sea, is not just one thing. Its journey is one of communication and imagination, an ageing process, mystery and beauty. Helen's choice of language, inspired by Grace Nichols, is strong and surprising, for instance River is a loving mother "River carrying her childrento her sea in firm embrace", and River is in pain "wincing with eerie cries". The poem flows magnificently, giving a sense of abundance and the delight with which it was composed. Moniza Alvi

FOR RIVER in the style of Grace Nichols.

River could carry word

River could carry word

River babble in early morn

Word of mouth with every wave

River carrying her children

to her sea in firm embrace

But River don't seep her bank with mud

no River cover her back with blooms

from steaming jets of morning dew

and when cloud come to enclose moon

and darkness fall on her like blanket

River children go down to bed

Diamonds sparkle in fading sky

River flowing in her mind

to when she felt full gorged and high

From as a trickle, to a stream

how River roared in rampant open skies

River now at middle age wishes for those days

when her joy had not been dried

to that of old tempestuous tides

River wincing with eerie cries

and when sunbeams

wake her up with blinding light

River just creep and crawl

to a new day of thirsting love

but coming back to word

River could carry word

River could carry word

And we must follow River

to her word of mouth


Helen Hubbard, aged 15, receives "The Country at My Shoulder" by Moniza Alvi (Oxford University Press). Submitted by Carol Hedges of Monks Walk School, Herts, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems to The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY

Moniza Alvi, this term's guest poet, was born in Pakistan and brought up in Hertfordshire. She has published two collections, "The Country at My Shoulder" and "A Bowl of Warm Air".

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