A poem from The Ropes
I saw you somewhere in the middle of the class
and my eyes passed right through you.
Who or what you were I could not say
I watched time pass
and realised I knew you.
You were a bundle of nerves then, far from cool,
you were waiting for someone to make a decision.
The world was full of those who were beautiful
but you were merely dutiful,
half-hearted and lost at school
without a clue, without a vision.
And the laughing girls were lovely and their eyes
were turned inward and away from you.
And those you desired were as far
as the nearest dying star.
Life, it seemed then, hung around, weighing you up for size
but wouldn’t stay for you,
while outside, somewhere further off, over there
was light and wind and air
that ran its fingers through your hair
and dared you on,
till you were gone.
George Szirtes has written a dozen books of poetry since 1979, the most recent, Reel, winning the TS Eliot Prize in 2004. He has published about the same number of translations, poetry and fiction, and occasionally writes for The Guardian, The Times etc. He can’t sing, can’t act – but can dance a little.
Poems by you
The following poems have been written by pupils at Durham Girls School, inspired by Elsbeth Kirkman's poem We are… following a workshop by the poet.
This is the space dedicated to words from you, if you'd like to take part - Submit a poem »
Self Portrait of Me - Aged 12
Screaming and running around my bedroom
For I am a bird you see
Nothing is ever as simple as it seems
Nothing is ever the same
As the world changes round me
A wide grin spreads from ear to ear
My eyes glisten
The smell of chocolate
I Am Me
I change like the seasons,
sometimes warm, sometimes cold
Though my personality never alters
I cling to many things when they should be long gone
Torn blue jeans, charms, my phone which never falters
I grow like a seedling which is desperate
to be as grand, as wise as an oak tree
Going through phases, shedding my leaves
On occasions, obsessed with me and ONLY me
Facebook, MSN, texting galore
Oh my God, no way, this is such a bore
Instantly sidetracking and tapping my knees
My habits are extremely hard to seize
Shopping and reading and straightening my hair
Wanting to spend time with friends
I like to follow actresses and their diets
But just wolf down chips in the end
Demanding I can be, but quite persistent
Trustworthy, loyal and caring
Unique brown eyes like those of a horse
Not very active, but can be quite daring
Favourite place - which isn't hard to chose
Is my home, sweet home
Unique - can be a bit snappy
But with a heart as big as a dome
The Almost Teenage Stage
Why do they look at me that way?
As if I'm going to commit a crime,
I'm not anorexic, I don't have an ASBO
And I don't have a gang of thieves as friends.
We aren't all threatening punks, you know,
We may listen to Soulja boi, and wear skinny jeans,
But we hide away from the truth.
I lie alone in bed, away from the horrors of the outside world
Where everything is constantly changing.
I delve into my bright green book,
Immersed in the happiness of another dimension,
Singing aloud the peril-less pink colour of the world,
The almost scary colours of the world.
Whilst the rebellious binge-drinkers take drugs and make fights,
I grow like a blade of grass,
Taking in through my big blue eyes
The trees blossoming in their ever-changing shades of the seasons.
My small dainty feet, trickling across shores and horizons,
Like a rainbow that reflects my true personality,
Or an innocent fish,
Vulnerable to the surprises the world has in store.
Self Portrait of me Aged 13
Biting my pen during school - thoughtful, hopeful,
"You noodle!" - friendly, clueless really,
Lasagne - unforgettable, tasty, gone,
A blue reversible coat - material, likeable,
An Ipod - calming, escaping,
Auckland Castle - peace, content,
A bush at the top of a garden - deep, dangerous,
A fish in a bowl - forgetful, clumsy,
Swimming into the new light, new dawn, new life,
Freshness of the morning out of my bedroom window - refreshing, new,
The time - changing, moving on,
Moving forward - constantly, forever,
A wrist - unnoticed, timid, small,
"She's so lovely" - in her dreams, maybe,
But this is me, after all.
This is the space dedicated to words from you - Submit a poem »