The Magic Makers took shape quite slowly. One day, while stroking my beautiful and devoted cat Molly, I became enchanted by the faint streak of white on her otherwise black nose. Perhaps, I thought, she was created and then painted by a Magician who, finding her irresistible, had caressed her nose with his not-entirely-clean finger just before releasing Molly for her life on earth.
Prometheus, as I call him in the poem, stirred within me the idea that there could be other magic makers who, between them, had created the natural beauties of the earth. Flora was the next to arrive. She is almost certainly a blend of my grandmother, who loved and knew the names of all of our wild flowers, and Botticelli’s masterpiece La Primavera – one of my favourite paintings. In an idle moment, as I was mulling over the shaping of the seas and continents, the name of the great cartographer Mercator came to me – a name not to be resisted – and Dawn, a time when light brings out the rainbow colours of the earth, simply fell into place.
The imagery of chaos brought to order is ever present in creation myths. Ariel, my Lord of Motion, arose in part from a love of Shakespeare’s great play The Tempest in which, as Prospero’s servant, the spirit Ariel works his magic to bring the play to a joyous and peaceful conclusion. He is Shakespeare’s own Magic Maker. The strength, beauty and, some might say, mystery of horses are at the heart of their close kinship with humankind. Perhaps the other-worldliness of Gandalf’s Shadowfax in The Lord of the Rings was in my mind when I gave Ariel his “chariot, drawn by mighty steeds” to “usher Earth on her celestial course”.
As for the language of the poem, some of it drifted into my mind almost unobserved while some sections required a little more application! Poetry has always beguiled me. I love the satisfaction of rhymes, the emotion of rhythm and the imaginative potency of imagery. What I have sought in The Magic Makers is a language which encompasses my own sense of the world’s great beauty and which has the potency to enrich the responsiveness of young readers to the wonders which surround them.