Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Mouse Dreaming

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:

Mouse Dreaming

Small as I am
I have such dreams
under the stairs,

the grey mouse screams.

In the dark hall
coats wave
empty sleeves,
enormous and grave.

But mouse just twitches
the end of his nose.
Well, dreams are for fulfilment,
I suppose.

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.
The elephant-trunks
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.


Anonymous said...

Some of my absolute favourite poetry is children's poetry - Brian Patten's Geography Lesson, Scannell's A Case of Murder...

I think children's literature is so important; it's formative and even as adults, long term memory tends to serve better than short term so there's every chance people will best remember the poems they read in their childhood/teens, and what's more they'll remember it nostalgically...Which tends to give things a bit of a bias.

Gwil W said...


When I was a child
My life half wild
I met a bear
Upon the stair
He lived in a book
And I was hooked
By every line
That rhymed so fine
And the pictures bold
In the book I'd hold
That I'd fall asleep
And dream so deep
That I was there
With Rupert Bear
In his fantasy world
It was never dull