Time travel for the Nines and under
30 April 2009Add to My Folder
The lines of a poem can breathe life into events and people of the past: equally, memories of times gone by can breathe life into the lines of a poem. Kevin McCann explains…
When I began writing for children, I realised that even though the trappings of my childhood (black and white television, etc) were different from those of today’s children, the things that mattered to me were not.
At seven I believed (secretly) in magic, didn’t like the dark and loved getting presents. I also loved listening to stories about ‘the olden days’. Kings and Queens we learned about in school didn’t seem real. My Grandad’s account of the 1914 Christmas Truce did. He described it all in such graphic detail, that I could see moonlight glinting on the barbed wire, feel the cold mud, hear Silent Night in German drifting across no-man’s land. In my imagination, I was there. Not quite a quick trip in the TARDIS® but the next best thing.
”...imagine what you are writing about. See it and live it.” Ted Hughes Some years ago an Everton school asked me to oversee a local history project. We discovered that Everton, like most place names ending in -ton, began as a Saxon settlement on a riverbank in a heavily forested valley. We talked about the area now and what it would have looked like 1,000 years ago.
Imagination is to space, what memory is to time… C Day Lewis
The children didn’t have any trouble at all imagining trees, birdsong, a clean river, etc. They just remembered their last school outing to a country park. I then provided this frame:
Now Everton is (The sound of) Cars and lorries roaring up and down (The sight of)