Moving Images 2: Sonic

“A world so flat and fair that everyone gets three lives…”

I’m continuing to write in response to moving image resources online…

This week, I noticed that there’s a whole array of computer games ‘Speed Runs’ (which you can peruse here) – where people screen-record themselves doing a game really fast. So I started writing around a particular game on there to see what happened – but moved on to other remembrances of computer games from my life.

Gaming might not seem like an obvious source of poetic inspiration – but I and many others spent a significant amount of time on Resident Evil, or Super Mario Bros, or – as in this poem – Sonic The Hedgehog. 

I’m also reading Double Bill: Poems Inspired by Popular Culture – so perhaps that ‘zooming in’ on a particular pop-cultural facet of life and seeing where it takes you was on my mind.

It’s not – of course – necessarily about Sonic the Hedgehog…


The surname bristles too close to my pew.
As we shuffle out, I lay down five gold coins
for a hedgehog charity (instead of flowers).

And I’m back to the burnt 80s hues of our garden,
where the grandmother we shared laid down un-
diluted curiosity and cat food there, under analogue flash.

And I’m back to Sonic the Hedgehog: my lurid 16-bit
teens. A modular world of layers, levels where
you could curl into a ball and smash through walls.

A world so flat and fair that everyone gets three lives
or more if you gather those hundred gold rings, or know
the right buttons to press. And that dark screen appears:


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