skull ideas

This week’s In the Booklight is unusual – to the point perhaps of being the exception that breaks the rules. Instead of an author interview or article, I’ve decided to feature poems by young poet, Solomon Mansfield. Solomon came in to see me when I was poet in residence at Brownhills Library as part of the Adopt a Poet scheme. I was struck both by the poems that he brought with him (including ‘Funny Bones’), and ‘Poetry Extravaganza’ that he was inspired to write afterwards.

Funny Bones

The skull, my brain’s home
The fibula lies a lot
But the humerus is the funny one
The triquetral is not to trusted
And the ilium is always sick
The sacrum sounds like a vegetable
Maxilla – isn’t that someones name?
The lunate – one of Saturn’s moons?
Ulna, I swear that’s a shoe brand!
The coxa sounds like an animal
And these all belong in my body.

by Solomon Mansfield


Hands trembling, nerves have arrived!
Sweating, as we enter the library…
The house of words and reading!
There she waits, WHAT! She’s human after all!

Just like me and you, no 16th century ruff
Or tunic like Shakespeare.
Just a normal person.
I’m interviewed like a celebrity.

Answering her questions – me, like a stone statue.
Then, a one-on-one recital of “Wired Flesh.”
“Pixelated people”, “plugged in” she read.
A taste of poet life,
I could get used to this!!

She reads my poetry with a smile.
“Amazing…” she whispers kindly.
“Funny Bones” her favourite.
Making notes in her LITTLE notepad
OF BIG ideas!!!!

Bu-bump-bu-bump my heart goes.
A literacy goddess face-to-face.
That could be me one day!!!
Words in the air and everywhere!!!!!

Thank you Sarah James for your time and inspiration.

by Sol Mansfield

Solomon Mansfield was born in 2005 in Brownhills, West Midlands. He has been home schooled since the age of 4 and is now 11. From and early age he had a great understanding of words. His poetry is inspired by every-day life, i.e. family,nature,underpants,hunger and being naughty.

Photo credit: Pic & words by Sarah Leavesley, featuring young reader Daniel Leavesley.

Photo credit: Pic & words by Sarah Leavesley, featuring young reader Daniel Leavesley.

And my thanks to Solomon for his lovely poems – I’m still blushing at the generosity of his Poetry Extravaganza!

In response, I’m going to share below one of the poems that I wrote while poet in residence at Brownhills Library.It’s one with a similar theme – the thread of inspiration and arriving at the library.


for Solomon Mansfield

Bypassing the M6 – no mashed
Mills & Boon underlaying
Scholars Walk, Pelsall Common
and this tarmac’s unfolding tour
of village shops, front windows,
bus stops and people waiting for
the 8.48 running late, a change
in luck or brighter weather.

A truck trundles towards me,
and past. Moulded tyre treads
vibrate like an old music box
turning tunes from metal cylinders.
The road whirrs with this mantra
of motors, familiar sights, strange meetings.
Rain falls, sun dries – briefly – feet cross
from pavement to pavement

towards something that might be
destination or simply a passing pause
for chat or breaking up a grey day.
Ideas hover – a butterfly pulses
from its chrysalis, paper-thin wings
startle air into patterns, new shapes
from mothed shadows. I follow
my thoughts along The Parade

and into Brownhills’ Park View Centre
with its foundations of mortared brick,
well-placed words and space to think,
to dream that fairer weather
or to magic a finer luck. Doors open
and I merge with the library’s mantra
of turning pages, a textured beat
waiting for me to play its rhythms –

inspiration at my fingertips.

Sarah James, Brownhills Library ‘Adopt a Poet’ poet in residence 2017

To read more In the Booklight interviews (and articles) with authors, please click on this link.

There are many resources for young poets, including The Poetry Society’s Young Poets and, locally, Writing West Midlands’ writing groups and activities.