What an encouraging lot you all are. A number of you have suggested that I produce a book of poetry for children. I'll tell you what else you did. You made a little bell ring, somewhere at the back of my mind. And it didn't stop ringing until I dug out a draft I was working on back in 1984!
Here's a cropped scan of the cover, complete with a typically 'off the cuff' and badly scrawled working title, and one short verse.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that quite a bit of the material hasn't dated that much. That's to say, the world may have changed, but children still observe it with the same degree of clarity and frightening logic.
Three things have inspired me to give it a go. (a) Your enthusiasm for 'The Gap' (b) Rediscovering my old MS, and (c) A wonderful performance we saw at the Cambridge Festival, by Paul Cookson. His wonderfully funny book of poems for kids, Pants on Fire is a delight. His readings from it, had all of us laughing, not just the kids.
Paul Cookson in full flight, at Cambridge, 2012
Here's another daft one I wrote 28 years ago, with an inspirational five year-old buzzing about the place.
It seems to me there was a time when dreams and aspirations occupied a very personal place in our adult lives. They were things we held close. Often, we clutched them so tightly, they formed the kernel of our being, cushioned by the soul and driven by the heart. It was a time when, against all odds, a dream usually remained a dream, still prized and treasured even when unfulfilled.
Butterfly mask by SW
Today, I hear people airing their dreams on a daily basis, declaring their innermost imaginings out loud, scattering pieces of their plans like so much conversational confetti. Ironically, it’s usually those who have the least realistic prospect of realising their dreams, that air them most convincingly. It’s a shame, on so many levels, to witness that which is so precious being downgraded to mere wishful thinking. Once your secret hopes and goals are out, the box they came in is filled with the much less durable sense of expectation.
Yet, when a child recites a ‘wish list’, we are entranced. Our spirits are lifted and we’re reassured to know that they have the ability to hold the seeds of dreams. Then we pray that they don’t let go too soon, or too easily.