In this 2017 edition, our Poet Laureate presents poems from previous collections, plus a handful of new. A delicious assortment, it honours the fantastical landscape of our children’s inner lives, and tells us that poetry belongs to us all, it is the music of being human.
The subject matter roams from the daft playfulness of removing your head and flinging it into the sky, where it will spiral through the heavens like a comet, to the nagging weight of ‘A Worry’,
When I whip round to stare
it straight in the eye, it’s not there
But it’s there alright, growing like fungi, over books and toys.
Darkness touches other poems too. You were told, you didn’t listen
Only your satchel’s found, at dawn, at the edge of the field
by this gate
The supple language of these poems is so clever and evocative. This is a woman who remembers how it feels to be eight years old.
My favourite poem is ‘Meeting Midnight’, where time is personified. We meet Midnight herself. And she’s just marvellous. Her eyes are ‘sparkling pavements after frost’, she’s hooded, in a full-length dark blue coat. She winks. She smokes cheroots. Well, of course she does. But as for Half-Past Four, he’s a bore, and thinking about it, I’d have guessed he would be.
This is an ideal book to dip into and read aloud from. Reciting a poem breathes life into it. The acclaimed performance poet Kate Tempest, has been quoted as saying that the ear will hear what the eye may miss. Perfectly put. My 10-year-old daughter loved the vivid imagery in these poems.
A peach like an apple
wearing a vest
…a rainbow, unpicked
to seven ribbons in your hair
How lucky our children are to have the brilliant Carol Ann Duffy championing this sometimes neglected medium.