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Showcase: Salad Days + Destination + For Grannie + The Moon And Me

Edited by Lucy Kaufman

Welcome to the first of my five showcases for May, brought to you every Wednesday via Write On! Extra. I’m Lucy Kaufman, Screenwriting and Playwriting tutor for Pen to Print, and am delighted to be showcasing the work of an array of exciting writers this month.

Our current Write On! theme is ‘Overcoming,’ particularly apt this month as May spans Mental Health Awareness Week, Brain Injury Awareness Week and National Women’s Health Week.

As a therapist for 20 years, as well as a writer, I understand the vital roles both therapy and writing can play in overcoming. Writing can be therapy for the writer, in processing the challenges they have gone through in the past, or helpful in navigating the issues they currently face, but can also help the reader in crystallising their own insights into themselves and their lives; perhaps even inspiring them to embark on the road to change. Writing explores who we are as humans, helps discover where our limitations lie, and can often push the boundaries of those limitations by questioning what is and isn’t possible. My theme for this month of Showcases is Transcendence: how we as humans, and writers, can and do transcend our own limitations.

When I teach Screenwriting for Pen to Print, one of my workshops is on Memory, Dream and Imagination. This is because we humans have an inner ‘screen’ in our heads where we can replay/relive our memories, where we view our dreams when we sleep, and how, in our waking daydreams, we can imagine whole worlds where anyone and anything is possible and the only limits are the extent of our imagination.

In these five Showcases, I’ll be sharing work that mines Memory, Dream and Imagination in order to transcend who we are and who we could be. I will also be looking at the role of myth and the supernatural in transcendence, as well as – in the final Showcase of the month – imagining the next step for humans, in possible futures for the human race.

So, for our first week, let’s look at the role of Memory in helping us transcend our present.

In this first nostalgic poem, Salad Days, by Greg Pidgeon, memory transports us to a former time and place, helping the narrator transcend their present self-isolation. Through the poem, comes the realisation that their childhood experiences helped create new ones for the next generation:

Salad Days

Final bell rings, evacuation into the never ending summer.
Running through meadows of buttercup, daisy, orbs of gnats.
Home then pack for holiday routines.
Beach, radiant skin, new friends await.
This is my innocence, late nights and lasting memories.

Now in my room, self isolation, music my friend.
Homework, mañana and sleep.
Walking ahead of parents, Nan and Pop understand.
Holiday with summer love, ending so soon.
Now awaiting the same routines.

My future ahead, driving with window down.
Independence money is searing my pocket.
Merry vacation, free but unknowingly searching
Romance, liquor and sunburn follow.
Skin pink, peel then biscuit brown.

The bulging boot packed with long drive awaits.
Contingencies planned for the journey.
Reliving the past through my children.
Crater dug, buried and gritty ice cream dispatched
Sunset and peace, infants in bundles, safe and spent.

Precious quickening time now arrives.
Reminiscing with flock, their energy giving.
Informed support for all, promenading with love in hand.
Twilight remembrance and summer solstice.
As my final bell rings, these where my salad days.

© Greg Pidgeon, 2024

Connect with Greg on Instagram: @pidgeongreg


I’m sure many of us can relate to the poem’s ache for the summer holidays and innocence of our youth. I particularly like the alliteration and vivid imagery in the line Skin pink, peel then biscuit brown.

In this next poem, by Gloria Maloney, a memory of the sea and family also prevail. And here, again, it’s the memory of small lessons learned in the past that help shape the present:


Standing in our special place, the pull of the sea whispers to me
I choose a grey mottled smooth pebble
Watch it skim then tail flip across the water
Whirl pool plop! Distorts the silence
Ripple words fan out

I sense my father standing beside me
Calloused fisherman hand cradling mine
as I plouter about in sand shallow waves,
looking for my prized pebble
I hear his voice praising my clumsy efforts
to master the art of skimming
Teaching perseverance
He was and still is my guiding light

© Gloria Maloney, 2024


I particularly love how the importance attached to that small pebble and skimming stones takes on wider significance for Gloria now. With such rich imagery, I’m really with her; my own child-hand cradled by the calloused fisherman’s.

In this next short piece, Claire Buckle uses evocative language to transport us to the back step of her grannie’s house. Through memory and writing, Claire conjures a long-gone and much-loved relative back into being:

For Grannie

You sat on your back step, shelling peas into a colander while I wandered about on the lawn, picking daisies, threading them into a chain.

I sat next to you then, squinting against the sun, beaming brightly on Grannie and me. In my memories, stencilled forever on my heart, Grannie’s house is my Happy Place. Like a patchwork quilt, the images stitch together in my mind: of daffodils and the passionflower threading its way across the fence; Grannie telling me the meaning of each part of the flower.

The washing flapping on the line, drawn taut across the posts, the wooden pegs keeping mended petticoats, repaired sheets and darned socks, like Grannie kept me:  safe.

And then, when the door closed on summer and we sat by the coal fire, there was no sadness at the creeping darkness in that cosy room.

© Claire Buckle, 2024

Connect with Claire Buckle on X: @ClaireBuckle and Instagram: cloubuckle

 Passionflower © Lucy Kaufman, 2011

I particularly love how the simple practicality of yesteryear – the washing, the darning, the shelling of peas, the coal fire – stitch together into a wondrous patchwork quilt of daffodils and passionflower in Claire’s mind; still able to offer a feeling of security and happiness.


In this final poem by Josephine Renton, it’s the memory of one particular incident that stands out for the narrator. We’re immediately pulled in, and invited to share in, her misfortune:

The Moon And Me

The moon was so full and large that night
As I stepped right into the pool of light
There was really no one else in sight
I just followed the silvery road.

I was fearful to venture into the park
The paths were narrow, and the trees were dark.
A dog on a lead looked up and barked
As his owner ushered him past.

I was almost, by now, at the top of the hill
The street was deserted, and the wind was still.
Inside I felt a kind of thrill
As I strode on the solitary road.

I turned and then I saw the moon
Silvery gold in the inky gloom
A mysterious ethereal bloom
It was a newly magical road.

But I wasn’t looking where I trudged
At the sinuous roots or the slippery mud
And I hit the ground with a hollow thud.
It flashed as my chin struck the road.

I just lay there for a minute or two
The perspective now was completely new
Was it a dream or was it true?
Why was I lying like this in the road?

I made a short list of all that was right
My chin and hand stung, but it was mainly the fright
My front teeth were in place and try as I might
I could not find anything else.

The moon seemed to mock me as I stumbled home
It was deaf to all my discomfort and moans
But it had shone enough to let me find my phone
So I forgave it: Our beautiful moon.

© Josephine Renton, 2024

Image: Great Oak, Super Moon Or A Mother’s Love, Which Is Mightier? © Dr Afsana Elanko, 2024


I love how the moon becomes a multi-faceted character in this poem: beautiful, but mocking, indifferent but magical. And that last line! We are reminded of the moon’s magnificence and how lucky we are to have it, and how it belongs to us all. Contemplating the hugeness of the celestial bodies of the universe in comparison to our tiny selves really can put our problems in perspective and help us overcome our anxieties here on Earth.


Lucy Kaufman is a playwright, author and screenwriter, as well as lecturer in Playwriting and Screenwriting for Pen to Print. You can connect with Lucy on X: @lucykaufman_ and Instagram: kaufmanlucy


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