Wild Words Festival 2022

So Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th June is the Wild Words Festival in Cuffley, Hertforshire. I am on stage Friday at 4:30pm and I must say I am really looking forward to it.

I have been sifting through my children’s poems to find daft ones, silly ones, disgusting ones to share to warm the audience up before we get onto the serious business of wishes.

Wishes are so important to stories. Without them many things would not happen. Events would not take place and characters would not be motivated to do something. Of course, the problem with making a wish is that usually something goes wrong as Billy found out Wishbone Billy.

If you can make the festival, do say high and do let me know what you thought of my books if you bought them. I always love to find out from children what they think. If you can’t make the Wish Wonder you will probably find me hanging out in the festival’s bookshop buying more books when I really shouldn’t. I have so many to read already!

Anyway, whatever you are doing over the weekend don’t forget to take time to find a quiet space and make a wish. Maybe just a small one. You never know who might be listening.

Poem: Utopia City

I will build in my city

green spires circling trees and grass
swallows nesting in the rooftops
fruit trees hanging from window baskets

I will build in my city

parks with hidden tunnels to secret places
cat cafes to sip tea and share a biscuit
floating platforms to dive from into the bluest water

I will build in my city

plastic free markets where food is free
warm beds to rest in spacious rooms
health care for all from birth to grave

I will build in my city

acceptance, tolerance and love
the friendly greetings of strangers
the kindly helping hands of neighbours

I will build in my city

me.

This came about because I have been thinking of my children and what will become of them in the future. I feel children have the power to make real change to the world. As you grow older, you can get stuck in your ways, and lose vision. Children are full of imagination and hope for the future.

POEM: Bookshop

Quiet are the shelves
Time to let the words whisper.
Tomorrow they will be noisy.
Shouting stories at customers.
Protesting: buy me!
Medusa will leave you as a stone.
Transfixed before the shelves.
If only you had brought a shield.
But then, it is a bookshop.

This poem came about because I was in my favourite bookshop waiting for the end of day. It made me think of how quiet a bookshop must be at night and how each page of the books had a story to tell and wanted our attention.

POEM: Grandma is a fossil

My grandma is a fossil
Or so I have been told
She lies upon her bed
With teeth mainly gold

She doesn’t move much
But lies gathering dust
As still as a great stone
With a lip of tea crust

Gonna be a scientist
Get a spade and dig her up
With a brush I’ll be careful
To push away the muck

My great fossil grandma
Would get me on the news
People would line up outside
Standing in their twos

This poem came about as I needed a poem about fossils. I remembered the phrase ‘Grandma is an old fossil’ so it got me thinking about how old people are similar to fossils and what could happen if you treated them as one. I composed this one in my heard driving home.

POEM: Darksiders

Moon above
Sellotaped wings
Plastic fangs
Night kings
Little witches
In a line
Waiting for the clock
To chime
Bobbing apples
In a bowl
A sweet treat
Is your goal
Pumpkins with
Toothy grins
Light the path
Of the twins
Black cats
Furry spiders
Tickle the faces
Of the darksiders

This poem was inspired by the annual Hallowe’en celebrations in my road. Watching my children and neighbour’s kids get dressed up in homemade costumes to go Trick Or Treating. One of my favourite times of year, ushering in Autumn and dark nights.

POEM: Pants

New pants are on the scene
Have you ever seen something so supreme?
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday’s best
With a label upon its crest
A symbol of the snuggly feel
That you get from a Sunday meal
Everything in its right place
Puts a smile upon your face
Jump to the left
Hop to the right
With these pants
I’m full of might
I can do anything
In red pants of glory

I got thinking of the time when I was young and we got new clothes. The excitement, particularly of new pants. Bigger pants. They seemed to symbolise growing in age and becoming an older boy.



Moment

There is that sweet moment of the day when silence seems to descend and time holds still and even the bustle of a packed café remains unnoticed as you let your mind wander, take a turn down a path, untrodden, overgrown with branches forming a canopy of green, and as you wander you begin to notice the magical figures that flitter between the leaves, darting from flower to flower to add a sparkle of colour, and just ahead you glimpse a white steed, a unicorn, drinking from a brook as an elf plays a lullaby on a panpipe, an it is at these moments you paint a scene, craft a character and place them, give them words to say and a task to do, a quest to strive after, to reach for like the words you seek to place on a page, a phrase of imagination, and then you pause for a moment, look around, and realise where you are, in that café, surrounded by people.

This came about when wondering what to write. It had been a while since I wrote something new as I had been spending my time editing a book of mine ready for submission so the creative muscle was rusty. And whilst sat there in the open with a coffee nearby, it reminded me of all those times when time stood still as I wrote, how it could take you places and how a good piece of writing could also take its reader places. So I wrote about that moment.

POEM: Contentment

Ball of contentment
sweet dreaming of warm log fires
and a little mouse

This poem came about because I was trying out different poetry forms. I like poems with clear structures that constrain you but at the same time free you as you don’t have to worry about how many stanzas you are going to use, or what rhyme pattern you are going to go to battle with. This poem is obviously about my cat and how content he looked settle on my lap before a winter’s fire.

POEM: Words

Words are watching you
They gather your thoughts
They tell your secrets
They spread lies
and state truths
They can break a heart
They ruin friendships
or destroy an evening
Beware words
They can imprison you
or set you free

This poem came about as I was mindlessly watching tv and thinking of the impact that certain people’s words have had on others. It got me thinking about the power of words and how easily they can be misused to create harm.

POEM: We Go A Wandering

Photo by  Abhinav Narayan 


It is interesting how the mind works. I haven’t written any new poems for a while or posted on here but thought it was about time I did. So what to write. I decided on a poem but my brain was empty of ideas. So I went to bed having written nothing.
A bad nights sleep. I kept waking up. I woke up at 3AM, wide awake. So I decided to listen to a Frank Skinner podcast on poetry. The poet he was referencing had written a poem using ABC structure so I thought “I’ll try that!”. Then I fell happily asleep.
It was that time when you are half-awake, half-dreaming. I was dreaming of people walking in the countryside and a song/poem filled the air. I came to. The words still clear in my head. I wrote them down. I wasn’t sure of some of the words – did they even exist. I checked. Yes, they did. I had written a poem in my sleep state using real words I didn’t think I knew. How strange!
So here is that short poem.

Here we go a wandering
A trundling
A trolling
Here we go a wandering
In the glade

Trundling = to move in a wagon; to roll along
Trolling = to say in full, rolling voice