A couple of weeks ago, a group of us from Wakey LitFest went to Wakefield WordFest’s display in the WX building. We talked to lots of the visiting children about what they could see in the space around them – with an enchanted forest, a giant inflatable whale and a bunch of activities, there was a lot to choose from –  and I turned their ideas into a poem. 

You run through the world,
Barely taking a moment to stop 
To look  and see - 
A wandering deer, a pile of books
All things at home in these woods.  
You step so fast over a strange seesaw.
Oblivious to how out of place these things are.

And yet you see well
As you explore, following animal tracks,
Eyes glued to the floor 
You slow - 
And see the creeping autumn red
Making its way from the peaks of the leaves
To the green at their heart. 
You stand still and count the acorns, 
Seven you can see from here. 

You take note, and hurry off to explore, 
To find more. 
Armed with a compass you cannot use
And a machete to carve through the grass.
(Machete is the name you gave
To the penknife you nicked from your dad.) 

You emerge to the seaside 
With glorious glistening sea licking at the sand.
You stand - for a moment - and watch
As it dances in, prepared to reabsorb
The sandcastles glamorously adorned 
With shells borrowed from the tide. 

You explore on, 
Plunging into the ocean, 
Passing a stray leaf being battered on the shore, 
Beyond the swimmers you dive down, 
To meet the fish. 
You’re leaving sharks and dolphins in your wake, 
As you escape the land behind. 

You discover a supermarket in the depths, 
Catering - as a speciality - to the mermaids in the sea.
Mundane to them but you feel glee 
As you swim amongst the shelves filled
With fish for food and dancing crabs. 

Child, this is our world to explore, 
Tell me what you see.