There’s a red man under my bed, ugly as sin
with pitch-black fur and a voice that pricks like a pin;
his claws are obsidian, his tongue is dynamite
but most deadly are the dreams he hurls into the night.
They toy with telepathy and send a message shining
to say that he’s made me a bed that I best lie in.
in my mind
of the sun
I can’t quite
she leads me
the red man
and his swarm.
the blue of the cold wet night, no sun to light my way.
The Sound of Simon Armitage’s Shed
When it gets dark outside,
the sound of Simon Armitage’s shed validates me.
I can ignore the bitter of winding of the wind as it howls
down stairs, up trees, through leaves and out again
and sink into the welcoming, well-worn chair of Imtiaz Dharker’s rhyme.
I’m made glad when the muscle memory of my heart
makes a mark against the viscous, sharp resin of the sky,
my fountain pen spidering over its moonlit sheen
from the soft breath of the warm shed on my flowering seeds.
The scent of sweet pomegranate surrounds me.
I come home smelling of glee, my smile a patchwork tapestry.
Guests often come and go through the shed,
the ghosts of those who are blessed to hear what the garden says.
They sense the echoed sound of a hand reaching to pick from the poets’ tree,
the delicate feel of handcrafted paper beneath their feet, evergreen.
There’s poetry in the stars, you know,
and in the stories of the seats in the park
and, most certainly of all, in the poignant moment:
the Passover of stress into relief in the dark of the Poet Laureate’s fief.
Charlie Bowden is a student from Hampshire, England, who discovered a love for writing poetry in lockdown after spending years studying it at school. His poetry has been included in collections by Young Writers, Amnesty International and the Stratford Literary Festival and recently he won the 2021 Forward/emagazine Creative Critics Competition.