Thursday 3 October 2019

Poem: Suncream in February + NEW work for National Poetry Day, October 2019

Suncream in February 

You finish writing a book but you don't send it off right away. You sit reading it pretending to be the poet you hope will read it one day. You erase a comma. Then put it back. And then erase it again. You wonder why you spent this winter writing a book. Because one day we might burn books for heat. And one day we might use books to build rafts. We'll tether books together to sail to safety. I think the world will end with dead unread books.

You snap your lap top shut. 

You go downstairs and switch on the TV. The news is on. There are images of empty supermarket shelves. The news reader is talking about stockpiling food and medicine. They cut to footage of a couple stockpiling tins. A couple stand side by side. They smile into the camera by a wall of baked beans. They grin down the lens and tell us all at home that they are Brexit ready. I'm Brexit ready the man repeats. We want to be Brexit ready his wife nods. We want to be Brexit ready. They say this in unison as they fill plastic storage boxes with tins of baked beans. 

I think the beans situation is covered now with thanks to John and Elaine in Maidstone.

At the end of the world will baked beans be like heroin? You imagine swapping a book for a tin of baked beans. You wonder which book would you sacrifice for a tin of beans? You picture yourself scoring a cheeky hit of beans on toast behind a public toilet. Hey man, got any dirty brown sauce? I'll swap it for Ayn Rand.

You switch off the TV and make tea. You stare out of the window at the pink and the sky and the light. It is summer. But it is February. It is summer. But it is February. And too bright and too warm and too weird and too sunny. It's alarming that they don't mention this heat on the news. We need sun cream in February and my neighbour is having a barbecue in February and the last super tusker elephant died. And it is summer. And it is February. And it is summer. And what was the point of writing a book all winter? When our time is so fractured. Divided. Distracted. Interrupted. Our attention is demanded and demanding attention 

But then if not for love, then why are we all here? 

And what is your soul for? If not for books. For poetry. For vinyl. For music. For art. For sharing. For dreaming. If not for your glad heart. Your joy. For your faith and belief. And for love love. If not for love love. For humanity and connection? Then? What else is there? And what are we all getting out of bed for? And what are your eyes for? And what are you looking at? And what do you want? And what is the point of any breath? If not to sing for freedom and survival and light and colour and you, yes you, what will you march for? And what are you all fighting about? What will we all fight for? If not for the elephants? If not for the Amazon rainforest? If not for the love love? ... Then what was it all about? Why are we here? Was it really just about baked beans?

*first draft of new work in progress 

(c) Salena Godden. 2019


This week I recorded two poems for the BBC 'Suncream in February' and 'Gentle Reminder' to celebrate #NationalPoetryDayI had a most delightful time chatting with the brilliant comedian Jessica Fostekew. The two interviews and new poems are broadcast Wednesday 2nd October  and Thursday 3rd October at 10:55pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra  


'A blind old lady with silver eyes 
all milky-white her face,
 her begging bowl is shining stars 
and deep as outer space.'

Happy Publication Day! 

Gorgeous new children’s poetry anthology themed on this beautiful home we share and must protect - #poemsfromagreenandblueplanet is edited by Sabrina Mahfouz and published by Hachette this National Poetry Day. Excited to be part of this book and this gorgeous collection with a supreme line-up of contributors. If you have children that love books and words and planet earth I reckon they will really love this book


Happy Publication Day! 

Not one but TWO beautiful children's books are published this National Poetry Day and both are very special anthologies. Happy to have some work published in this food-glorious-food themed collection #midnightfeasts edited by A.F Harrold, illustrated by Katy Riddell, published for National Poetry Day with Bloomsbury - This delicious collection is essential for the budding cake-baking book-loving wordsmith in your family! 


My new film is featured on BBC FOUR's 'Rhyme and Reason'
Presented by the inimitable Lemn Sissay
Come find us around the back of the internet... 


Matt Abbott Poet's October spoken word column 
for The State of The Arts celebrates 
the poetic powerhouse that is Salena Godden

"Having the opportunity to work so closely with an artist like Salena is one of the greatest privileges you could possibly hope for – not just in terms of her creative output but in terms of her drive, her spirit, her optimism, her fire, her laughter, her love and her relentless need to create; to spread her message; to stick two fingers up to all that’s wrong in the world; and to celebrate others that are doing exactly the same. Most artists only think about themselves and their own “careers”. Salena does the opposite – her energy is all about the family, the fight and the community that we find ourselves in as protest artists."


Poet and activist, Salena Godden celebrates the brave but troubled political writers of the world with 'Sorry To Trouble You', filmed at the Arnolfini, Bristol for last year's NationalPoetryDay live stream, courtesy of The Space ArtsWith improvised music from the Tongue Fu band. She joins us for our Tongue Fu - Change Special at CHANGE Festival, Warwick Arts Centre along with Rachel Rose Reid and Amerah Saleh on October 18th. 

Change Festival is a weekend of art, talks and performance exploring how we change the conversation around climate change from one of fear and helplessness to one of hope and action. Please join us and help spread the word. 




love poems books art music 
festivals vinyl poetry stories
CD's zines gigs radio posters t-shirts 
 spoken word pamphlets love love

 - 3 NEW FILMS -




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