Fantastic Beasts – Call for Poems

Herefordshire is a county of fantastic beasts and mythical creatures: The Dragon of Mordiford, the ‘enormous panther’ supposedly spotted near Ross on Wye, the Kilpeck Basilik. Also the minotaur, unicorn and werewolves in the Mappa Mundi.

With this in mind Ledbury Poetry Festival is collecting fantastic beast poems. If you would like to contribute a Fantastic Beast to the hoard simply visit the Fantastic Beasts page, type your poem into the large box and click on the “Send” button to submit it. Once we have read and approved it, your poem will be included on this page.

The Festival will host a Fantastic Beasts reading at Hereford River Carnival on Saturday 29 April at 11am – 12noon, on Castle Green next to the Strongbow Tent. Contribute and poem and then come along and read it. Or come and hear an array of Fantastic Beast poems read by contributors and be inspired!

Herefordshire Poet in Residence Fiona Sampson’s Leviathan imagines not so much a sleeping King Arthur under the English national soil, as something much older and nastier…


by Fiona Sampson

The black beast who sleeps
under your feet raising
his back sometimes sending
shivers up your spine
and shivering the trees

who stretched himself out here
under a pelt of trees
laying down his muscled
tail in the red earth
his muzzle nudging the hill

side where it is broken
open is he our friend
this sleeping lizard does he
dream about redemption
is his cold brain

warmer than the blood
stilling in his veins
those cold corridors
transomed and dripping that run
through the rock like rumours

of a lost time bright
and brutal with the fear
that could force open living
earth and lay inside the hill
this monstrous body still

alive his breath shaking
the air between the hills
so sometimes you can feel
the pulse of his heart black
as the end of the world


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