This is my first ever poem, it was written when I was seven years old, in felt tip pen, on one page of an adventure gamebook called ‘Grail Quest: The Castle of Darkness’. This was the first book I ever bought for myself, it’s the kind of book where you role dice and fight monsters.
My justification for posting it here? Well, the books (they are a series) are set in a rather idiosyncratic version of Camelot and have more ‘Grail questing’ in them than I realised at the time; for example, although even back then I recognised Merlin, who is the reader’s guide to the magic world of the books, one of the recurring characters is Pellinore… In this particular book he’s encountered on the way in and out of the Castle in question. You carry a sword called Excalibur Junior, and your character lives just a couple of miles outside of Glastonbury. More about them here.
The recurring character who’s important here, though, is the Poetic Fiend. The Poetic Fiend is a friendly vampire who writes doggerel, and encourages ‘Pip’ (that’s the name you take as the quester) to write himself. A blank page headed “Pip’s Poem for the Fiend” gives the space to do it.
Anyway – with apologies for my faltering junior school spelling – here’s what I, as Pip, wrote for the Fiend; my first ever poem, written in a magical reworking of Camelot, under the watchful eye of a friendly vampire. Those who’ve seen my performances at the Open Gorsedds will note I appear to have been obsessed with birds from the start.
PIP’S POEM FOR THE FIEND
All my poems
I could tell you
Cwite a lot
When I go
I’ll sae goodby
I’ll come back
When I see a bird fly.
For my efforts, the Fiend rewarded me with one gold coin, and told me to “spend it wisely, on some foolishness”.