Inspired by Nature

I had a little giggle to myself this morning. I’ve got a list of upcoming submission calls that I’d like to try my hand at, one of which being the Forty-Two Books Putrescent Poems anthology. I woke up keen to get started, but struggling for ideas. I knew it had to be horror – that was the easy part. Horror is the one sure theme that always inspires me to give a submission call a crack! But what kind of horror? Demons? Ghosts? Mass-murderers or psycho hitch-hikers? There are sometimes too many possibilities, when it comes to giving something a shot!

I decided to get out into nature and see if the clean air and greenery would set my creative juices flowing. I grabbed the dog and off we went to the local orchard. It’s a beautiful pathway, surrounded by rolling fields and dotted with apple and damson trees. It just so happened that there were groups of school children receiving lessons on the different types of flora and fauna in the area. This meant that the pup had to stay on his lead, much to his dismay, but I had fun eavesdropping on the lesson as we passed:

Teacher: “So, tonight, when you’re having your tea, try taking off your shoes and socks, sticking your feet in your plate, and eating your tea with your feet!”

Children: (Giggles and squeals) One kid in particular: “Even tuna fish sandwiches?!!!”

Teacher: “Even tuna.”

Aside from the fact that a tuna sandwich might be the easiest thing in the world to eat with your feet (ah, to be a kid again), an idea popped into my head while I was looking up at the trees and waiting for the dog to finish his business. Kids + Trees = A tree that eats children. So that’s what I’m writing my poem about.

I don’t know if that’s quite what people have in mind when they say you should get inspired by nature. But it worked for me!



In my household when I accidentally say something that rhymes, my husband shouts out a stock-standard, “You’re a poet and you don’t know it,” at which point I yell, “But I do! And I have the proof!” This is because a) we are idiots, and b) I was fortunate enough to have a poem published earlier on this year. This poem was called The Fairie Rules, and it appeared in the fantastic Lycan Valley publications Beasts and Brews anthology. The Fairie Rules is a grim little poem about a person being taken into the faerie realm and being unable to get out again.

When it was published my family did their usually lovely ritual of talking about it/showing everyone who came within their vicinity, and my Nana was no exception. Her cleaner arrived one Tuesday, business as usual, but by ten o’clock she’d been ordered to put down the duster and “take a look at my Granddaughter’s latest”. Unbeknownst to my Nana, her cleaner is a practicing pagan, and she thought my poem would fit their night of chanting for the upcoming summer solstice. She asked for my permission to use it, jotted down a copy, and went on her merry way.

Fast-forward to this weekend, and I am thrilled to report that on June 21st, at a secret location somewhere in the early hours of the morning, a group of Pagans chanted my poem as part of their summer solstice ritual celebrations. I absolutely love that this has happened, and I really wish I could have seen it! Writing truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Here’s to many more unusual requests in future!