World Premiere performances @PoetryEvent of “My Hat”

Two World Premiere performances @PoetryEvent

 

My Hat

Whilst sipping tea at the Palace
Of a busy busy bee, named Alice,
She placed in my left hand
Her rolled map of wonderland.

So off I went
In my walking boots,
With my tent
To find the entrance – a little little hole,
Not THAT little – the size of a rabbit
rather than a mole.

I asked a cow.
I asked a bird.
Both told me, “Wonderland does not exist.”
I replied “That’s absurd,
You might as well say that this isn’t a map
that this isn’t a tent
that you are not a cow
and you are not a bird.
Wonderland exists! It has to be true.
I have a hatter to find
and a white rabbit too.”
At which, the bird, flew
And the cow just went, moo.

I sat.
I spread the map of wonderland flat
On the grass
Just as the shadow of two large ears passed.
“Come back, come back
I know you’ve time,
Please – help me find a friend of mine.
I must arrive before his tea
So that he has time for me.”

The ears both vanished down a hole –
Built by rabbit, not by mole.
Into that dank dark underground I jumped –
Straight into the stillness of earth pressed holes.
Passages full of contorted roots.
Front ends and rear ends of worms,
All friends, in soil, shale and clay,
Playing their daily way.

“Please, help me find a friend of mine –
It’s awfully close to his tea time.
If I’m not there, and prompt at three
I’ll miss the cakes, I’ll miss the tea,
I’ll miss the chat, I’ll miss the dance
What’s worse I’ll miss the very chance
To pick the hat which suits my head
And keeps me warm when I’m in bed.”

“We will, we can, we should, we might, we really think we may.
We ought, so let us make a wish and magic you his way.”

With that warm worm wish and a wave
I found myself outside and sitting in the Sun again.
No rain, no clouds, no sky-
Just a very wooden ceiling
Above me very high.
A set of chairs around me
A drip or two of tea
And oh my word
My friend the hatter
Looking down at me.

“You’ve shrunk my friend” the hatter said,
“And your head size is so small,
I’ll have to get the smallest elves
To magic you all tall”

One elf, then two, then thirty-three elves more
Encircled me and with a potion
Made behind closed-door
Bid me grow my own true self
A stately six foot-four.

“This hat will suit you” said my friend.
“No no it’s far too small”
“Then try this one instead” he said
“No no it’s far too tall”
“This hat? This hat?”
“Full of feathers!”
“This hat? This hat?”
“For all weathers!”
“This hat? This hat?”
“Too much pong!”
“This hat? this hat?”
“Made all wrong!”
“This hat? this hat?”
“Far too wide-
With stars and moons
On its outside!”
“This hat? this hat?
Full of colour.”
“That’s the hat! It’s like no other!”

“Hatter hatter, my good friend,
My journey’s at a happy end.
I have a hat that fits my head –
To keep me warm whilst I’m in bed!”

For those who think my story true
I lift my hat from head to you.
If there be some who like the bird
Think my story is absurd
I’ve proof that would convince that cow
In this collection, here and now.

(Take out hats)

“This hat will suit you” said my friend.
“No no it’s far too small”
“Then try this one instead” he said
“No no it’s far too tall”
“This hat? This hat?”
“Full of feathers!”
“This hat? This hat?”
“For all weathers!”
“This hat? This hat?”
“Too much pong!”
“This hat? this hat?”
“Made all wrong!”
“This hat? this hat?”
“Far too wide-
With stars and moons
On its outside!”
“This hat? this hat?
Full of colour.”
“That’s the hat! It’s like no other!”

Full version of “My Hat” in production for littlepeoplebooks.media
From Image of Learning (IOL) personality workshops for schools, ‘Get Ahead,Get a Hat’. More: archive site at https://worldofwater.org.uk/tag/image-of-learning/

First published 06. May 2015
First performed 17.Oct 2015
First gig recording: 28 Aug 2023

Stanley, Paul. Author

Paul Stanley
Paul Stanley, Author First collection of poems “The Profound and the Profane” (ISBN No.: 1-899573-02-X)

Paul writes a heady mix of indulgent tease in his first published collection of poems, battling through blatant ‘Adult Poetry’ to delight the reader with his take on ‘Romantic Consumerism’.

Paul is obviously measuring life with every natural form he has. He documents a personal journey yet works as a word chef might to serve his readers emotional flavours they recognise well, albeit on a learning curve that he pens.

As a devotee of Concrete Poetry, (read Paul’s poem “Spider’s Leg”) his work often needs to appear online in ‘textual-image’ form because most default typographical settings alter the structure so important to all writers of Concrete Poetry. This again makes it harder to track down reference to his written works using search engines that don’t recognise the importance of gaps, rivers, spacing and gutter positioning through body text (A subject Paul studied at University)

Because Paul paints with words, his writings are aimed at the reader’s understanding of ‘image’ as well as tongue, regularly slicing through the set restricted ‘lines’ walked by many of the ‘now’ poets. At times when Paul needs to communicate beyond text lines, he designs, models and paints spectacular model characters  – a disturbing world of Halfling, Boffin, Took, Brandybuck, Grubb, Chubb, Burrows, Bolger, Bracegirdle, Brockhouse, Goodbody, Hornblower and Proudfoot. My personal fav. is this giant:

Those Earthlings curious to catch up with Paul’s first published collection of poems, including ‘The Kiss’, ‘Shelf Life’, ‘The Theory of Irrelatively’ and ‘The Night I Met a True Vegetarian’, should contact Paul via theBattleforge site or cautiously approach their nearest bookseller to order a copy of ‘The Profound and the Profane’ giving them the secret code number of ISBN: 1-899573-02-X.

And if you still can’t get your hands on a copy, contact me as I have a spare, mint condition, first edition 2002 [GBP 18.00 +pp]

Enjoy the Fire and Flames – experience Paul, his Goodbody Bolgers and all.

Grant.

 

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For stories exploding with characters, follow the tales and experience real tagged trails with the tellers of Little People Books

Paul’s working on his second collection of poetry as I type this.

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