First Friday Poem by a Secondary School student: I am not a graceful person

Poetry Shelf aims to feature a poem by a secondary-school student on the last Friday of every month. I have received a bundle of poems from which to pick one to post. Many of the poems were full of emotion and were circling dark and difficult subject matter. The trick of writing a poem that will hook and then keep the attention of the reader is to explore how emotion can serve the poem rather than control the poem (a bit like rhyme really). Real detail, attention to the sound of the line, not giving everything away, laying down clues can help, playing with the form of a poem — this can help create a poem that moves rather than overwhelms.

‘I am not a graceful person’ by Emily Savage, aged 17, Year 12, Raglan Area School

The poem I picked does circle difficult subject matter, but it is surprising, mysterious, thoughtful, daring, fresh (remember this is not a formula for what makes it a good poem, but just happens to be what this poem does). I like the way the poet doesn’t spell everything out. I like the overlapping circles in the poem; the way graceless is transformed into gracefulness, the way night becomes day, the way difficulty becomes ease. The rhythm of the lines add to the mood; they puncture the dark of the night with their varying lengths. This is a poem I wanted to read again, and of all the poems I got sent it is the one that stuck in my head.

I am not a graceful person

I am not a graceful person
I am the Tuesday that never came. I am the 11:45pm siren from falling  out of dreams. I am the awkwardly disguised leap years and the numbing of your limbs.


You are beautiful as you speak, in fragment thoughts at
you lift up all things that hit the ground one by one
but mostly you are transparent, solid, rock, feelings (big, bold) although nothing to hold them together. You have all things needed to become something more, but you are everything less
I am over the moon, but under the sun
and you are somewhere near the stars.
Which is okay because most things we see are dead or
will be sometime in the future. So having a grasp on something isn’t all that bad when you know everything/everyone
is dead.
so as it hit
6am (15 seconds)
I knew that your dead words- my gracefulness would= 7am. And by the sun is up,
so I knew we would be okay.

2 thoughts on “First Friday Poem by a Secondary School student: I am not a graceful person

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