Saturday, October 04, 2008

The boy who nearly won the Texaco Art Competition

he took a large sheet
of white paper and on this
he made the world an african world
of flat topped trees and dried grasses
and he painted an elephant in the middle
and a lion with a big mane and several giraffes
stood over the elephant and some small animals to fill
in the gaps he worked all day had a bath this was saturday

on sunday he put six jackals
in the world and a great big snake
and buzzards in the sky and tickbirds
on the elephants back he drew down blue
from the sky to make a river and got the elephants
legs all wet and smudged and one of the jackals got drowned
he put red flowers in the front of the picture and daffodils in the bottom corners
and his dog major chewing a bone and mrs murphys two cats tom and jerry
and milo the milkman with a cigarette in the corner of his mouth
and his merville dairy float pulled by his wonder horse trigger
that would walk when he said click click and the holy family
in the top right corner with the donkey and cow
and sheep and baby jesus and got the 40A bus
on monday morning in to abbey street to hand
it in and the man on the door said
thats a sure winner

by Joe Kane

This simple poem has become one of my recent favourites. Written for Ted Hughes, it is the first poem in the wonderful Lifelines anthology, and also from a collection of poems under the same title.

I've been thinking of it every time I go to overcomplicate something recently.


  1. There was I thinking it was another glimpse of your early childhood. I could actually see you sitting in your room in deep concentreation as you worked on the picture.

    ...and once again there was a twist in the tale.

  2. Ah that's brilliant - excellent find! So pure :)