Yesterday I worked with students from Priory School who came to the Portsmouth Museum to see their fascinating ‘A Hard Choice’ exhibition. We wrote ghost stories inspired by objects they chose from the collection. I was really struck by not only the young people’s vivid imagination and dramatic descriptions but also the emotional depth of their tales of tragedy and revenge. Listening to some of them read their work aloud actually made me shiver! They will make excellent entries for our story competition. If you know anyone aged 7- 14 who’s interested in writing and lives in Portsmouth, then please do encourage them to enter. The deadline is June 30th.

Here’s a poem I’ve written inspired by the students’ fantastic writing –

Night At the Museum

The record player is haunted
by a young girl singing
for the parents who starved her,
a child scarred from a broken mirror,
the threat of pigs rampaging,
a castrated pervert, the artist
who murdered his model in a fit of a rage.

Inside the head of a boy,
there are the ghosts of eels,
unexploded bombs, vicious moles with razor teeth.
At night when you walk up these narrow stairs,
beware the negative ring that glows with death,
the face at the window insisting on silence,
the screens who guard their secrets.

These stories are knocking at the glass,
creaking in their frames,
whispering in the corners.
They collect the horror of heartbreak,
the breathless waiting for history
to shake itself free from the dust
of forgotten nightmares.



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