This wonderful book arrived in the post yesterday! Falling Out of the Sky is the first anthology of children’s poetry from publisher The Emma Press, and sees twenty poets re-working classic myths and legends. The poem I contributed is called The Cauldron of Knowledge, based on the Welsh legend of the enchantress Ceridwen. In the legend, Ceridwen brews a potion imbued with the gift of wisdom and poetic inspiration, intended for her son. However, Gwion Bach – the young boy she places in charge of stirring the potion – inadvertently ingests some of the potion and gains the wisdom and knowledge it carries. What follows is a fantastical chase sequence as Ceridwen pursues the boy, each of them transforming into different animals as they go.
My poem is essentially a back-and-forth between the two central characters, with Gwion Bach goading Ceridwen the witch as he flees from her. In the original, Ceridwen eventually swallows Gwion and ends up giving birth to the poet Taliesin. I changed the ending a bit for my version, so that Gwion is successful in his escape by transforming into a tiny flower and hiding from a dragon-formed Ceridwen. I altered a few of the animals they change into from the original story, too.
Every poem in the book has been lovingly illustrated by Emma Wright, the editor, herself. The cover art is bold and vibrant. It would make a really lovely bedtime reading book for children around 7 – 9. Huge thanks to the editors for choosing to include my work; I’m very, very pleased with the end result!