It has been a strange year, to say the least. Among the madness of the pandemic and the political pontifications, Mark managed to get a poem published. A first for him, and a lovely way to end a stressful few months. We asked Mark to tell us a bit more about the poem and how it ended up as part of a unique Christmas collection.
“My mother was quite creative. As a young woman, she drew some fabulous oil paintings and in the last few years of her life, loved writing poems. When Mum became ill, she asked me to get them published after her death, something I couldn’t achieve. I read a few of them out at her funeral, which seemed apt. I hope that was enough, mum.
I’ve never seen myself as a poet, although I do recognise and enjoy the power such eloquently crafted words manage to convey in only a few sentences. A few weeks ago, a request came out from the Santa Calls Website for 25 Christmas stories that Santa would read out for children as well as end up published in a book. I decided to have a Christmas crack at it, but just to be different, I attempted to write a poem based on a famous Christmas carol.
During my research for inspiration, I came across a poem called Ring out, Wild Bells written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and published in 1850. Reading it, I was astounded by how apt the poem still seemed some 170 years later. I decided to write a new version, a 2020 Christmas version and submitted it to the competition.
I wasn’t surprised when it wasn’t selected for the book. After all, a poem (especially one based on a 19th-century poem) isn’t exactly an obvious choice for a children’s storybook. However, I was stunned (in a pleasant manner) when the publisher contacted me to say the judges had selected my poem as one of their favourites and requested permission to publish it on their website. I readily agreed.
The poem can be read here, and Santa’s Bedtime Book of Adventure Stories is available on Amazon. It is a thrill to know I managed to get a poem published and someday in the far future, someone may read my words just like I read and was touched by Lord Tennyson’s words from so long ago.
I hope I did you proud, mum.”