We wanted to share with you a poem by our friend Neil Baker and the children of Christopher Hatton Primary School.
This poem is my contribution to 26 Leaps, a collaboration between writers' group 26 and London's Bloomsbury Festival. The project celebrates people associated with Bloomsbury who have made a great 'leap' of some sort – in science, the arts, politics etc. I wanted my contribution to celebrate young people in the area; children who haven't made a big leap yet, but who carry our hopes for the future.
I worked with Christopher Hatton Primary School and its inspiring head teacher, Gwen Lee. One lunchtime Gwen asked a series of children, what do you want to see happen in the world? And why? We transcribed their answers, which gave me hundreds of words of inspiring stuff. I set about turning their words into something that had the power of a poem. I didn't add any words of my own. But I changed the pronouns – from I to We.
This is their voice.
A world with no pollution. No diesel. No deforestation. No more trees
cut down to grow palm oil. A world filled with trees, the lungs of the
earth. No poaching, so animals don't become extinct (because it isn't fair
if people in the future don't have animals.) A world that is full of
wildlife, with rainforests. Where we can still here birdsong and the
rustling of leaves and trees and the air is fresh and clean. An end to
climate change (because if we don't it will get hotter and we won't be
able to go outside and that wouldn't be a nice world to live in.) So we
will be scientists stopping the climate crisis. And we will be ecologists
saving forests and their animals. And we will raise awareness, call for
clearer labels, help people make better choices. We want a fair world,
where all children have their rights. Without sexism. Where girls aren't
treated differently. Where we all have the same opportunities. So we
will be actors playing powerful women who fight for justice. We will be
superheroes helping children all around the world. A world full of kind
people who get along. No wars or arguing. Fair trading. A good
education. A good living. We will live in a city of robots and AI
machines that do everything for us and learn from mistakes. And we'll
see clean sand and swim in a blue see and the fish and turtles will not
eat plastic and the world will be painted in colours that make people feel
Thanks to Gwen and the children who shared their hopes: Amelie, Bilal, Elizabeth, Ishaan, Julia, Kate, Khadeja, Maram, Mariam, Samuel and Tallulah.