Dissecting A Poem

It is Saturday night and what am I doing…head banging until I’m unconscious with permanent brain damage? Nah. I’m dissecting one of my new poems to show where everyday inspiration has slipped in. I hope this little blog post is useful to those of you who have fallen out with your muse.

Back when I was a kid, TV was restricted, the internet didn’t exist in the ‘real world’ and mobile phones were something of a myth. Instead of spending our days with our faces glued to some screen, we spent hours out in the woods building dens and riding bikes. The only time we were able to play on a games console was when we’d visit my auntie who owned a Megadrive and two, maybe three games.

I remember when DVD’s first came out, and my cousin, who was about three at the time, had a DVD player put in her room. She learnt how to use it quickly, and at night when she would wake up, instead of going to her mum’s bedroom, she’d put a DVD on instead. Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that is just fucking ridiculous. I see children, tiny, tiny children nowadays, with mobile phones and i-pods and kindles and all of these ‘things’ that are stripping away childhoods piece by piece. This poem basically pulls and weaves my feelings about the ‘kids of today’ into some sort of coherence.

Just Can’t Get Enough

I watched a fox last night,

sneak through a hedge,

then a fence, into

a school playground,

something dead in its mouth.

My sister and I were coming back from a gig in Newcastle at about 11.30pm the other night. I was still slightly dazed and a lot deaf, but still conscious enough to sit up when my sister squealed ‘FOX!’I knew immediately that it had sparked something.

I wonder what the children

would have done

if they’d seen it.

Would they have known

it was a fox and not a dog?

I’m not joking here. I think some wouldn’t know the difference. No fault of their own, mind.

There’s no option

to explore the forest,

even though a forest is often

what a child needs most.

Kids need to get out and about in nature. Fact. Getting outside, getting dirty, getting lost and finding your way back home again hungry and tired, well, it’s all part of being a kid. I’ll rephrase that. It was part of being a kid. It seems that kids aren’t all really that bothered anymore. They’re scared they might get grass stains on their white trainers or something daft like that. Again, not the fault of the child.

Children don’t pretend anymore.

They don’t down get on all fours

and howl at the early moon,

from the rock overlooking

the village near the village

where their house is.

When I was a young un, going to the next village over was a bit of a big deal, so we made sure we were prepared with juice and penguin bars. Nowadays, kids have to have their phones on them so their parents can know exactly where they are and exactly what they’re doing and who exactly they’re with. When I was under double figures, Mum gave me her trust, and that was more than enough.

Children don’t hear footsteps

or echoes nowadays.

Noise is constant. It seems that there is never ‘quiet time.’ Technology has made us afraid of silence.  

Learning languages

is thought of as pointless

when Google can just translate.

The internet flows endlessly,

days get lost, left behind

with no proper, solid experiences

at the bottom of the net.

Our experiences are logged on something that could, for all we know, fail. It isn’t tangible. We can’t ‘hold’ the internet in our hands and bring it close up to our faces to smell it and rub against our skin. I had a pen pal when I was younger, from Martinique. I tried and failed to write to her in French and she wrote to me in wonderfully dismantled English. We kept this correspondence going for years and it was a fantastic routine to have. I kept a diary from the age of about 8. Yeah, sure it was stuff like ‘went shopping today, mum let us get one thing each. I got coco pops.’ but I was still doing it. And I was locking my little diary with the key and putting it somewhere ‘secret.’ I wouldn’t be surprised if children only wrote letters today because it take up one lesson in an entire term of English lessons. And it’s such a shame. Letter writing, diary writing, keeping a photo album. So what if these things are old fashioned? So what if they are time consuming and bulky. They teach us patience and gratitude. Writing a letter or a diary entry, putting photos in an album – they all take time, but we’re holding something at the end that we can be proud of. You can’t hold a Facebook photo album in the same way.   

It is not a wonderful time

to be a child. It is a strange time,

full of half baked, ludicrous ideas.


Will children have memories

in years to come? Or will it just

be one long, seamless entry

on Facebook?

I do wonder, I mean, a child nowadays will probably hear their first album on Spotify, and then either forget about it or get obsessed and listen to all of the others the same way too, not thinking to go to a record store and get the actual CD. I remember buying my very first album. It was Metallica, Master of Puppets and I had it on repeat for weeks on end. I remember the store where I bought it, (a place in Guisbrough that’s close down now) how much I paid for it (£13.99) all of that. I’m just pleased that I was born in 1986. That I had the opportunity to have a proper, sensory experience with my first music purchases.

I remember something

being triggered deep

when I would pass

from the village into the forest.

I lived in a tiny village, well, a hamlet to be exact, for about eight years, and it was surrounded by ‘the big woods.’ Whenever I used to go up there, on my own or with my siblings, it would be like something had been set off inside me. All of my senses came alive and I was ready for an adventure, even if it was just meant to be a walk up to the old quarry.   

I became a wolf.

Now, there’s no

‘choose your own adventure’

option anymore.

Children are running

in the wrong direction,

leaving wet trees and sparkling webs

behind, leaving tadpoles

in puddles to dry out

and die.

I remember saving tadpoles. Taking them out of a puddle and putting them in a nearby pond and coming back week after week to watch as they grew their little legs. Would a kid today stop and try and save them, or would they just walk quickly past, without a backward glance?