An Appreciation Of Rhythm

This poem by Ian Crichton Smith is a poem about a boy who is sitting in a classroom feeling very frustrated. He begins to stare out beyond the classroom window and imagines where he wants to be. The poem is written in first person speech, as it begins with ‘I’. The mood of the poem at the start is frustration ‘I smack the ball right through the goals. ‘ This is a very aggressive piece of text and you can really feel the boy’s frustration and anger.

The boy feels very misunderstood as he cant do his work and nobody can help him because they don’t understand, ‘But they dunno how the words get muddled in my head. ‘ The writer uses school boy slang which makes you think a bit more about what the boy is trying to say and the different way he conveys his feelings. The boy begins to loose concentration on what he is doing and ‘looks through the window’ and sees a wall and begins to imagine what he really wants to do. The Poet then brings in a character, ‘Old Jerry’.

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Old Jerry is the boys English teacher and the boy doesn’t like Old Jerry because in real life Old Jerry knows that the boy isn’t good at English. However when the boy uses his imagination he can make Old Jerry to be who ever the boy wants him to be. The boy imagines him playing Old Jerry at the boys speciality, football, ‘Old Jerry he cant play, he’s too flicking small. ‘ He begins to insult Old Jerry. He then under mines Old Jerry’s Authority and imagines him in some skimpy shorts ‘see him in shorts’ and almost comparing him to a boy like himself.

He then doubts Old Jerrys intelligence, not his intelligence of Old Jerrys speciality English, but of the thing the boy knows most about, football, He don’t know nuting about Law. ‘ The boy begins to really let his imagination run wild and pictures him playing Old Jerry at football in a huge stadium! ‘They’re roaring the whole great crowd. ‘ The writer uses a very strong word ‘great’ which seems to up the effect and pick up the pace of the poem. The boy imagines him being the whole team!? ‘Crossing into the goalmouth, The balls at your feet and there it goes’ it seems as if he crosses it to himself?

Then the ultimate situation he’s in front of goal with the ball with Old Jerry in goal, one on one. ‘There it goes, Old Jerry dives- the wrong way. ‘ The boy again humiliates Old Jerry in front of thousands of people who are chanting at the boys wonder strike and Old Jerry’s blunder in goal. The poet then uses this same powerful word ‘and I feel great’ The ending is a real anti climax after the poem reaches its peak with the boy scoring the goal. The ending is a loose end and adds mystery to the poem ‘and wearing my gold and purple strip, fresh from the wash.

‘ I think the writers intension was not to right a typical children’s poem with every other line rhyming talking about flowers and birds but to right a poem which isn’t all clear when u first read it. The writer wanted you to think about his poem and create your own imagine like the boy did to Old Jerry. I think the writer is the boy in the poem. I think he once had an English teacher who didn’t understand him and he didn’t understand the teacher but he got his inspiration from his imagination and became a top poet.

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