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I have always thought that we should
truly listen intently to the young,
because the young, especially children,
make a point to say what is on their mind;
I have always thought that the best thing about being young
is that you do not need to worry about anything,
nor think too much, and just live,
learn, look, sample, and have fun,
be adventurous without knowing it,
look in every direction- not just forwards, or behind.

Every child sometimes forgets to look left and right
when they are crossing a road,
and sometimes than can walk away
by the skin of their teeth after a close encounter;
every child wants to be out and about with their friends-
whether it is a hot day of sun,
or a cold day of freezing snow;
every child is a not-so-secret natural explorer.

Children have no concept of time;
to a child the next day feels like a life-time away;
children have no thought of right or wrong, gift or crime;
to a child every day is like playing a game.

Every child attends a different school of thought
depending on where they live
and what they have been taught since the day they were born;
every child ultimately can only go on their own journey-
but the more a child has to choose
the more that they can feel torn;
and, to me, a child does need guidance
from those that they respect and trust,
but without too much of a push,
and letting them figure things out for themselves,
children always do find their feet.

A child from Africa can inspire the entire world
to think about others before themselves;
a group of friends from China can come together
from all different backgrounds
and dream of doing things, and going places,
and taking the rest of the world with them;
a little girl from Hawaii can hear the voice of the Earth
when they listen to the sound they find within a seashell;
a boy from Canada can one day be holding tightly
and looking down at his favourite toy,
and then one day years later in the future
take one simple thought that comes to him,
and realize that he could change the world
for every child and for all future children.

The life and the time of a child is precious,
and before you know it things get complicated,
and they can slowly start to lose their tender touch,
and they can worry about who they see in the mirror;
it is only natural to think
about why things are the way they are,
but you just have to hold on to things
for as long as you possibly can-
because before you know it
everything, slowly but surely,
falls through your fingers.

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On a morning walk down the city high-streets,
passed countless people, passed shops,
stores, restaurants of all names,
I am stopped in my tracks instantly when I see
a Golden Gunslinger reading a book
while sitting at the foot of a tree.
I’m not sure how long he had been there,
I’m not sure what he was thinking,
but when I looked at him looking down at his book,
to me, the gunslinger looked
as if he didn’t have a care in the world,
and it seemed as if to the gunslinger
the rest of the world could carry on their way
because he was lost in thought, in state,
and frozen in time, but like a performer at a carnival,
the gunslinger sat with a tin pot
just to the left of his right boot
asking politely of his generous passer-by
for a token of interest, fascination, respect,
and a thought to show that they care.

I sat in-awe of the gunslinger on a bench nearby,
and I even took a picture-
I felt like I was looking back in time,
or as if the gunslinger had been transported to the future,
to our present-
and as I sat looking at him, the sun shone brightly on him,
and made him glow even more golden,
and he looked even more amazing than he did before,
and even the sky above looked even more blue.
I thought long and hard about approaching the gunslinger
and putting some money in his pot,
and I wondered what he would do if I did-
would he lower his book? Draw his gun and take a shot?

The incredible living-statue of the gunslinger
that mesmerised me, painted head to toe in gold,
in himself was a work of art-
he was so brilliant to behold,
because as soon as I saw him I was instantly transported
back in time to my childhood,
and my fantasies of wanting to be a cowboy.
The Golden Gunslinger was like a living photograph
of a time of adventure and a reminder of the heroes
and out-laws that fill the stories of the Wild West
that once was in America that for so many
still holds a special place in their heart;
The Golden Gunslinger reminded me of how care-free
and amzing it is to a child, or someone who acts on and follows
their instinctual passions-
whether you are a man, or a woman, a girl, or a boy.

As time caught up with me,
even though in all the time I was sitting there looking at
the gunslinger he did not move an inch,
I realised that it was time for me to move on.
I decided to approach the gunslinger and give him a coin
from my pocket to repay him for his time,
his inspiration, his generosity, and his golden spirit,
and even as I got closer and closer
he still didn’t look up or look away from his book
and didn’t for a second flinch;
and then, as soon as my £2 coin hit the rest of the coins
in his golden pot and made a sound,
The Golden Gunslinger suddenly came alive
and he looked up at me-
he lifted his left hand to touch the rim of his Stetson,
he looked right into my eyes, and I saw him smile
without him having to move his lips at all,
and he bowed his head slightly,
and it was in that moment that I smiled too
in appreciation, and I too began to shine as the sun shone.

As I stepped back the gunslinger reverted back
to the pose in which I first saw him,
and he immediately went back to his prefered-posture
of reading his book, at-ease against the base of his tree;
while I turned to my right and continued to walk down the high-street-
I didn’t look back, but I knew and I was so glad to have met him,
to have given him my time, and for him to have given his time to me
and to everyone who saw him, because he reminded me
in lots of ways of myself, and he was obviously someone
of great patience and a deep-thinker.
I promised myself to capture this moment that would never come again
in as much detail and with as much meaning as I could,
and I also promised that I would never forget
The Golden Gunslinger.

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Sometimes you think you know the beginning of something
before you know the end;
sometimes you think you know with every certainty
what you are going to do with your life.
When you are a child it is so simple to imagine,
to anticipate, and see the good things that you want to happen to you,
and to you they are not just thoughts that you write in a diary
or a journal, and they are not just the dreams that you share
with your best friend.
When you are a child every first step that you take is an adventure,
and you just do what you feel in the moment,
and you say what you think in an instant,
and everything is possible,
because you haven’t yet been told that the most important thing
to do in everything you do is to try.
There are no disappointments,
at least there shouldn’t be as long as you remember,
even though you are a child, that as long as you still have yourself,
your mind, and your heart, and something to believe in,
and someone to believe in you;
and as you grow older, if you stay true to what feels right
and what your first instincts tell you,
you will one day look back with a smile,
and wonder how unbelievable it is that the moments of your life,
like the years, have gone by so fast-
so much so they feel like they have flew.

I am always fascinated by what the first thought is
that someone remembers of their lives.
My first clear and recognizable memory
is of my first day of primary school,
and being late that morning for some reason.
I am always in awe by what a child says,
no matter what it is, because they never have no end of things
to say about everything, and because they are surprisingly
articulate, knowledgeable, open, and right.
My first day at school was when I first said ‘I’m sorry’
and I gave my first gift to my teacher for being late-
it was only a box of chocolates,
but I do remember her telling me that is was alright,
and her saying thank you to me and to my Mom-
it’s so strange, because even though that happened so long ago
it feels like yesterday,
and at that moment, and at that time,
my mind, body, and senses, raced and lived truly and wholly
in the moment, and I didn’t fixate or even realize
there was such a thing as a horizon.

As we get older, we unfortunately do forget.
In this day and age our lives seem to revolve around numbers
that we feel compelled to constantly remember,
so we can do what we have to do,
and so we can get what we want to get.

The world has changed so much since I was a boy.
I have seen technology, opinions, countries,
cities, sky-lines, people, language,
and what children and adults are constantly being told
what they need in their lives and what they should think-
whether it is an expectation, or an image,
because it is what everyone else has in the form of a
new disposable and unimportant,
but seemingly vital new toy.
But the world is change. Change is the nature of life,
and the life-blood of the entire universe.
When things change everyone know that they must adapt to survive,
and to me that is why change is a gift to be cherished
and relished, not a problem or a curse.

The more we live and the more we experience,
the more our lives blossom in ways that know
and don’t have to imagine when we are a child,
because we feel it in ourselves-
just as we know and feel the change within us,
and sometimes that can make us want to break free
and run wild, unrestricted and unconfined,
and because we are still discovering who we are
and who everyone and what everything is,
nothing is out of reach or not aloud.

What I rediscover and realize more and more day by day
is that I don’t see myself the way I sometimes feel
I am supposed to see myself,
because I see how others my age look at me
and look at themselves,
and because most people these days are so used to
being told what they should think, feel, like, dislike, say, and do;
I suppose I am the opposite of that and I recognize
that same freedom of expression and identity in so many others that I see-
people who just want to be a person and not a number,
even if that number is their age.
I find that if you live free and embrace every hopeful moment
it shows in every part of you,
and to everyone around you it really tells.

As birthdays come and go;
as the days begin earlier, but feel shorter;
as I realize that life is more about who you know
sometimes more so that it is about what you know;
as I realize, what I used to not ever think about
and simply act upon when I was child,
that the feeling of the moment is more important
than worrying about what hasn’t happened yet,
and may never happen.
I realize that even though in counting the years
that I have been alive, breathing, thinking,
and feeling on this planet,
I may appear or seem to be getting older,
I am in fact in spirit doing the opposite of that-
because I truly feel that I am growing younger.

As I look out my bedroom window,
as I watch the wind displace the leaves
as it gusts through the branches of the trees
and makes telephone cables
and power-lines sway from side to side with every blow,
as it seems as if every leaf is now well on the way
to changing colour for the season,
I look down to the street below
and I see a little boy riding his bike
on the pavement outside my house
wearing a big coat and a bobble-hat;
and instantly I feel a wave of something come over me,
as if the winds of time were blowing in unison
with the winds of the world outside, and taking me back
to a time, to an autumn day like this one, when I was a kid-
a time when I loved to play outside with my friends,
and my sister Clare,
and play a ‘catch me if you can-type of game’ called “tag”
in which I never minded being the one who was “it”.

I used to love riding my bike;
I used to love exploring the great place where I lived;
I used to love looking out my window
on a dark, rainy night, and being in awe of the sound of thunder,
and energized by the sight of a lightning-strike;
I used to love playing hide and seek-
and I swear no one could ever find me,
nor think of the right place where I was hid.

I had a very happy childhood;
I had everything a child could ever want;
I had so much love bestowed upon me,
and I was taught so many lessons and I learned so many skills
from my Mum and Dad- from appreciating the value
of the smallest of things, and the briefest of moments,
to the importance of hard work,
and knowing the best way to cut wood.

I remember smiling a lot when I was a child,
I remember laughing, creating, watching,
constantly asking questions, and learning from everyone,
I remember times when I used to sit quietly,
I remember times when I used to run wild,
I remember having so much fun.
I remember the good times, and the bad;
I remember the people I knew and who knew me who just suddenly died,
I remember the times when I had to say goodbye.
I remember all the times when I felt so happy
I thought my heart was going to explode;
I remember the tears that came after a fall,
and the times when I didn’t know what was going on,
and I felt sad.

The world has changed.
I have slowly, but surely, grown up.
The home I have known all my life
feels like a picture that is constantly being reframed.
I am outwardly very different from the boy I was-
from my shoe-size, to my likes and dislikes,
to my hair colour, and hair cut.
Inside I am still the same-
I feel and I know that, even now.
Inside I am under no illusion in my belief
that in everything I do, and to everyone I meet, I make a difference;
I don’t always know why, in what way, or how,
but I do feel, and I have always felt,
like everything that I was doing had a purpose and meant something-
even if I was writing a story, or painting a picture,
even as a child I knew that there was so much more to be seen
than could ever be seen, and that no matter the dark clouds
that sometimes swirled around above your head
there would always be something to have hope for,
that there is always a silver-lining to everything,
and that there would one day be a great,
beautiful, and bright future.

Looking at my own reflection in the glass of my window,
as the sun shines on my face,
I look into my own eyes-
the eyes that have seen thousands of sunrises,
the eyes that have seen so much beauty, hope, and inspiration,
in their time, and which have imprinted on them images
that I will take to the grave,
of sights and faces that nothing could ever erase.
I look at my own reflection,
and I see the boy that I was,
and the joy and the hope in his eyes, in my eyes;
I look at my own reflection, and I see the man who I am,
the boy who I am always going to be,
who still lives in the place, the house, the home,
with the memories he treasures,
and will always remember and return to,
in the middle house of three, on Fair field rise.

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A seemingly unremarkable man of average height,
stands alone in the street,
slowly being turned into a living snowman,
as the snow falls and covers him in a coat of white.
Strangers trudge through the near foot-deep snow,
slowly passing him by without even a blink of an eye;
children have snowball fights around him,
while the snow-covered man just stands there in his place
looking up at the sky.
The stars cannot be seen,
a grey cloak of clouds has obscured them;
but the mysterious man’s eyes make up for the lack of constellations,
as they shine in the moonlight like never before,
and like they will continue to shine again and again.
He knows a thousand magic tricks,
but on this snowy night the only thing that this magician knows
is that, in the now silent, cold, beautiful, open-air,
the magic of the world is present in every snowflake when it snows.

In a blink of an eye, the magician is now 9 years old-
standing in the snow of a glorious white night,
holding a book of magic tricks in his gloved hands,
and wearing a scarf that reaches down to his ankles,
to protect him from the cold.

As the magician closes his eyes,
he imagines above his head that the clouds have disappeared
and that the light of the galaxy can now be reflected on the snow floor-
to his knowledge he has yet to learn the spell that can control the weather,
but he is willing to give the thought that he can his all.

When the magician opens his eyes,
the frozen moon above his head seems to glow much brighter,
and appears to have grown larger, whiter,
as if it almost fills the sky-
a sky that was once filled with falling snow, and bereft of stars,
is now still, perfect, and beautiful,
the magician could almost cry.
Stars sparkle like fixed snow flakes in the clear night-sky,
all is white, all is peaceful, as the winter wind continues to blow.
A billion wonderful things happened today,
and one person feels and knows that more than most-
a man who sometimes thinks of himself as a ghost,
but who is right now, and forever,
a magician in the snow.

Don’t try to be someone you know you are not,
don’t fixate on the opinions of others-
when in doubt, clear your mind, take in a breath,
take a look in the mirror at your own “mugshot”,
and remember back to the days of your favourite summer.

Whether you are a writer, a DJ, a musician,
a decorator, an actor, or a doctor-
whether you have just picked up a pen, a mixer,
an instrument, a muse, or a passion-
if what you do comes naturally to you,
then there is no reason why you cannot go far.

As human beings, every one of us has this empowering,
and sometimes overpowering, need to share what we thrive at doing-
even as children, we create something
and instantly want to show everyone what we have done,
and even at such a young age
that one creation can be a sign and an indication
as to the direction that we are going.

The mind of a child is the most creative, amazing, unbounded,
paradise of freedom on Earth-
from day one, a child is learning and feeling exponentially-
every day is a brand new day, every morning is like a rebirth.

When we are struggling in our daily lives,
the best advice anyone can give you
is to simply go back to basics:
What do you want to say? What do you want to do?
How can you make your mark without any tricks?

Always follow your first thought and see where it leads,
even if what you find is a dead-end-
you can always be sure that the journey you took to get there
is what you really needed.

You can be whomever you want to be,
but when all is said and done
who you are, and who you will always be,
will forever remind you
in the memory of your favourite summer sun.

If you are craving for inspiration,
you feel like you can’t say what you want to say,
and you are thinking that your next great creative act
may be your finale-
think back to when you were a kid,
when the days seemed endless,
when there was no pretense between you and the world,
and when whatever you did
was just what came naturally.

When we are a child we are afraid of the dark,
and even as some people grow older
they cannot sleep without a light to assure them and to guide them,
even if that light is but a spark.
I used to be afraid of the dark,
I used to drift off to sleep while mesmerized
by the glow of a light-bulb underneath my bedroom door,
I used to look into the shadows
and make myself believe that I could see a face,
I used to listen to every sound
and wonder what it was that was walking unseen over my floor.
And then, one day all the lights went out,
my bedroom and my entire house were now only being lit
my the majestic light of the moon-
I remember my Mum coming up to my room and telling me by candle-light
that “everything was going to be ok, the light will be back on soon”-
and the most amazing thing happened afterwards:
everything was ok, the power came back on,
and with the light, and at no time that night, since then, or now,
have I not believed, without fear, that everything is going to be all right,
its all just a question of when and how.

Lights go out everyday,
but they always return to life brighter than they were before-
day, or night, whether in the sky, or right beside us on Earth,
seen, or unseen, a spark is always there, that no one can ever obscure.

I have found great solace in darkness
broken only by the light of hope within my dreams;
I have felt powerful inspiration from the assured smile of a friend
telling me that everything is not always as it seems;
I have been in a sea of uncertainty,
diving below the surface, before coming face to face with a fast-moving shark-
unmoving, unafraid, and unlimited,
I raised my head to look at the glittering sunlight above,
I closed my eyes, and I went back to the spark.

When I was a boy, and all throughout my teenage years,
I was an artist, an athlete, an adventurer,
who knew nothing about the world
other than to never be held back by my fears.
I used to run, cycle, explore, for hours at a time
through my homes countryside open-air-
racing down lanes and over fields,
as the winds of my childhood blew through my curly blond hair.

I remember a summer when my friends and I decided to build a time machine-
I told my friends that it would be easy:
“Doc Brown made one out of a car”,
and I described how easy that had been-
so we outfitted a go-cart with a modified sweet-box, some wires,
a watch, and a calculator- all to my exacting specifications;
and then my friends and I all took turns on our “time machine”,
each time travelling to a myriad of historic and futuristic destinations.

As an adult I have had this recurring thought and daydream for many years
of going back to my “blond hair days”,
sitting down on a bench with my younger self,
and simply talking to myself, and telling myself a story:
a tale of tears and sadness, but also one of energy, inspiration,
love, imagination, and cherished glory.
I would tell myself how one day the world is going to change,
but that everything is going to be alright;
and that magic is real, but it doesn’t always present itself
in colours of black and white.
I would tell myself to remember these times in my life,
because these are the days that I will return to often,
and which strengthen my worlds bonds.
What a time I had, what days they were,
when I was blond!

There is no other time of the year as energizing as right now,
there is no other season like Summer to take your breath away,
engulf you, and make you go wow!
There is no other time of your childhood
that you look back on more and reminisce,
there is no other feeling as comparable as that of Summer’s kiss.

The wind is sparing, the air is close-
the pavements are simmering with so much heat
you could almost make toast!
The streets are like greenhouses,
capturing and funneling the days heat between every building-
almost turning ponds into baths, and fountains into hot-springs.

No matter the heat,
no temperature can dwell the glee of the young!
The joyful cries of children playing in the street
is like the song of the sun, a rhyme for all-time,
that can only be heard from the lips of the innocents tongue.

The smells in the air are always exquisite-
from the aroma of a barbecue, to the scent of a floral perfume;
the taste of food is heightened-
from the strawberries that we eat,
to the ice cream that we consume.

Tennis is on TV, the music festivals are in full-swing
and attract and unite thousands en masse-
everyone wants to be part of the enthusiasm of the here and now,
because they know that it will be gone in a flash.

No British summer would ever be the same
if, along with the gorgeous sunshine,
we didn’t get a shower or two of the great British rain;
but after a long and sticky day
sometimes there can be nothing else more welcome,
and the distinctive smell in the air that follows
always invigorates and stops you from feeling glum.

Summertime is a glorious spell
that enchants me every year without fail, I have to confess-
never do I long for any other days
than for the warm and beautiful embraces of Summers magical caress.

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