A WIRRAL musician has put down his guitar to finish work on a musical play about First World War poet Wilfred Owen.

Dean Johnson's first play, Bullets and Daffodils chronicles the life of Wilfred, who was killed in action at the end of the First World War.

The play deals with Owen's life before and during the war.

It explores the relationship with his mother through his letters, poetry and his life's events.

The play has two characters, Wilfred and his mother Susan. It is set in a Victorian sitting room.

The dialogue is interspersed with songs written and performed by Dean. The play has the support of the Wilfred Owen Assocuiation.

A lifelong fan of Wilfred's work, Dean attended the same school as the poet, Birkenhead Institute.

The 50-year-old singer/songwriter, who hopes to take the play to schools and mainstream theatre, told the Globe: "I've loved Wilfred's work ever since I was in school. It's more than 90 years since he died and I think his profile is really low in Wirral."

Born in Oswestry in 1893, Wilfred was brought up in Birkenhead and is recognised as one of the greatest voices of the First World War.

He also has a road named after him, on the former site of the school, which is now a housing estate.

In 1915, he enlisted in the British Army and was killed, aged 25, on November 4, 1918, during the battle to cross the Sambre-Oise canal at Ors in Northern France.

At the time of his death he was virtually unknown. Only four of his poems were published during his lifetime.

But he had always been determined to be a poet and had experimented with verse from an early age. Among his 62 poems are 1914, Dulce et decorum est and Anthem For Doomed Youth.

Dean Johnson said: "When I was younger I used to set music to his poems, so the play seems a natural progression. I've been touring and performing for years, and am still as creative as ever.

"But I can’t scissor-kick around on stage all my life, so it's nice to be focusing my creative energy on something new.

"I've finished the play's first act and am now working on the second. I'd like to get it done as quickly as possible and then take it to the public.

"A play like this could only be good for the people of Wirral. In the play, I take these magnificently dark poems and hope to explore the experience of a mother’s feelings and loss through warfare.

"Hopefully it will bring home to the audience war-related issues that are relevant today. We hope the play will appeal to a wide audience and have educational value."

Dean has been in the music business for more than 25 years and spends much of his time helping aspiring Wirral songwriters.

He recently wrote a song supporting a campaign to turn Birkenhead Town Hall into an arts centre in memory of late Heswall-born DJ John Peel.

He also made himself the envy of Beatles fans across the world when asked by Radio Merseyside presenter Spencer Leigh to complete the lyrics of a song written by George Harrison. The song, Silence (Is Its Own Reply) has now been recorded.