The Dreamer Falls, the third adventure in The Secret of the Tirthas, is now in draft and due for publication this summer. It’s set mainly in the jungle in Cameroon, where Lizzie has to go to save a local village boy who’s accidentally discovered one of the portals in her garden.
I decided to set The Dreamer Falls in Cameroon for two reasons: 1) I was keen to bring into a story a Nkisi fetish and some other interesting African artefacts I’d seen at an exhibition in The National Gallery and 2) I wanted Lizzie to experience the awe and mystery and hardship of traveling through the jungle. And particularly, I wanted her to encounter a few (but not all) of these beautiful creatures, captured on a trip to Uganda a few years ago:
And some of this magnificent scenery:
Lastly, I couldn’t resist including this photo of the group that went looking for gorillas – the rangers carried guns because of the danger from poachers and armed rebels.
In my dream I was a bird on the moorland.
I saw quick and sure
but with only half an eye.
Free from weight and damage
I moved through a million blistered thorns,
and gorged myself on hidden berries.
I watched dark clouds fill the sky
and sliced through growing winds
to gauge the coming storms.
When the rain fell heavily
I squatted down and ruffled feathers
to reduce the misery of wet.
In the gorgeous midge-thick summer
I swooped my signature in the blank blue sky,
and shrank up small when the great hawks soared.
At dawn and dusk I tipped back my head
and sang loud and well as I could
to the heavenly point at the base of my throat, the world.
This was one of several poems I had published in the Belmont Art Centre’s Poetry File programme for teaching in secondary schools in Shropshire. The photo is by Elliott Collwell, via Flickr’s Creative Commons.