Eva Salzman
East London Community Centre

Poem chosen for the Times Educational Supplement - Young Poet (poet was nominated by the Bromley-by-Bow Community Centre)

Khizir Miah
Dark Angel

Past the moon, past the sun

out of the darkness comes

a flickering, fluttering shadow

armoured in gold,

with wings darker than the night.


Razor-sharp feathers glint

below the stars


where the family wait

for the soul before them

to give up the last fight.

The shadow covers it

and carries it away.


Then, I watched it descend

with the grace of falcons

on the innocent blue-green gem

of our planet.

Comment from Eva Salzman

I was particularly moved by the surprise late introduction of a personal element in the poem; the metaphor for death, seemingly the centre of the poem, is pushed to the side once the "I" comes in, heralded by the "family". It is then we realise that the speaker is at a funeral, probably for someone close, although the "watching" suggests a distance which for me makes the situation even more moving. The end image reinforces the sense of our insignificance in the scheme of things, and I found the final image of "the innocent blue-green gem/of our planet" had a beauty and subtle ambiguity which seemed to capture perfectly the simultaneous involvement and detachment one feels at extremely emotional moments.