I will be doing a collection for children next year. In gathering together poems I came across some oddities that are not necessarily children's poems but are not quite something else either. This is one such:
Small as I am
I have such dreams
under the stairs,
the grey mouse screams.
In the dark hall
enormous and grave.
But mouse just twitches
the end of his nose.
Well, dreams are for fulfilment,
There is a memory there of Edith Sitwell's piece from Facade:
Madam Mouse trots,
Gray in the black night!
Madam Mouse trots:
Furred is the light.
Trumpet from the sea....
Gray in the black night
The mouse trots free.
Hoarse as a dog's bark
The heavy leaves are furled....
The cat's in his cradle,
All's well with the World!
And a very early poem of my own about silver fruit falling from branches with a soft sound
that stifles the screaming of mice
That comes from 'News for Signor Mouse', my first ever poem to appear in The Times Literary Supplement, in 1973.
But then sometimes it is people (Ladeees!!!) who scream at mice, certainly in cartoons, so screaming and mice may go together like sugar and spice.
For children? What are children? Are they those small things that run around in playground? Ah, those! There's one running around in the playground inside me. He must have written the poem. Perhaps it will please him.
A lot of radio work at the moment. Yesterday recorded an interview for Radio 4, a programme about poetry at time of war and other stress. Very nice producer came from Brighton. We recorded in my university office. On Thursday I record a Radio 3 essay about the poetry of W G Sebald.