Hidden Talent

I must have a hidden talent,

Everybody’s got one.

Why would all the rest be whizz-kids

If yours truly’s not one?

Maybe I’m a secret artist,

Like a second Dali.

All attempts so far have made me

Look a proper Charlie.

It’s unlikely there’s a dancer

Bursting to get out.

Pretty sure I’d blow a gasket,

Jiggling about.

I could be a great soprano,

But for one small thing:

If I do remember rightly

They know how to sing.

Is my flair more academic?

Somewhat intellectual?

Doubtful, since my power of reasoning

Is so ineffectual.

Should I try my hand at writing?

Other people do it.

But I tried to write this poem

And I clearly blew it.

NaPoWriMo Panic Sonnet

At fifteen minutes after nine at night,

A sudden thought came swiftly to my mind,

That March, in all its glory, did take flight

And in its place had April left behind.

It being so, a month of poems lies

Ahead of me and I must make a start.

I’m bound to mess up many of these tries

And see my rhyme and meter fall apart.

But, being NaPoWriMo, I will sit

And wrack my tired brain for pithy lines,

For words that lift, inspire and …well, fit

Within the ode’s broad planes and steep inclines.

And if that proves too difficult to do

I’ll press delete and write a quick haiku.

Last One

As April leaves and May comes into sight,

I pause to breathe a sigh of great relief;

This poem is the last I need to write

And so, I think I’ll keep my writing brief.

A lack of inspiration holds me back,

I have no motivation to begin.

A stimulus, a muse is what I lack:

No strong emotion bursts out from within.

But still, the thought of finishing this chore

May spur me on and help me to create

One final ode, so I need fret no more,

And then my writer’s block will soon abate.

This will soon be done now that I’m on it

As it’s just another bloody sonnet.

Ask a Silly Question

“Give me a topic to write about.”

Was my throwaway request.

The subject she suggested –

Well, I never would have guessed.

She didn’t say “The birds and bees,”,

“The flowers.” or “The fishes.”

No “Family!”, no “Long lost love.”

Nor yet “Your secret wishes.”

No, being Niamh, she came up with

A topic I’d find complex,

So difficult a subject that

I’d know not what to write next.

Now, with an hour left of the day

When I must get this ode done,

I sit here and I scratch my head

Afraid I’ll fail to write one.

For ‘soya milk’, her great idea,

Presents no inspiration,

If anything, it’s given me

A sense of deep frustration.

What can I say about this milk?

It’s vaguely white, it’s runny.

And that’s where I run out of things –

Which really isn’t funny.

So, thank you for that bright idea,

You plucked from in your head.

I think next time I’d better ask

Somebody else instead.


I need to write a poem for today,

And, frankly, I can’t really spare the time.

It’s not like I have very much to say,

Much less a thing I’d want to set in rhyme.

I thought I might find something in the news,

But all I’ve read today portends of doom,

Suffice to say, The Times is not my muse,

I’ll not apply a metre to their gloom.

Though lack of time and subject hold me back,

I loathe to skip a day and break my stride.

The sonnet’s simple form will be my track

And on this rail my metaphor will ride.

As I have nothing better to bestow,

I’ll write about my writer’s block and go.

I’m Not a Poem Writer

I’m not a poem writer,

That’s not the life I lead.

A poem writer’s life would be

The last thing that I’d need.

Who’d want to spend their daytime

Or any of their night

Stuck in with pen and paper,

Obliged to try and write?

There’s all that fuss with metre,

With metaphor and rhyme.

There’s assonance and consonance,

I wouldn’t waste my time!

I’ll never pen a sonnet,

No elegy, no lay.

If you ask me for a haiku

I’ll tell you what I’d say …

“I’m not a poem writer,

I’ll give that life a miss!”

So, I’ll never write a poem.

Apart, of course, from this.

Word Thief

“Poems don’t have to rhyme!” she said, shoving an adjective hurriedly into her pocket.

But as she left the shop, I heard her add “If they don’t, it’s a minor crime.”

I locked the door in case she should come back and steal more words:

Some verbs could easily slot into the pocket of her jeans; a noun or two shoved down a sock.

And then where would I be?

Alone, behind the counter, committing a minor crime.

A Busy Life

When people ask me what I do, I silently judge them for their nosiness before telling them I’m a copywriter.  I then explain what a copywriter is, unless they’re fans of ‘Madmen’, in which case I explain what a copywriter isn’t.  But I don’t really have the time for writing at the moment.  Just the creation of that sentence has guaranteed that the bathroom I should be cleaning will, at best, be left with a smeared mirror, while the sentence explaining about the smeared mirror has probably ensured I won’t have time to mop the floor.  If I don’t stop explaining stuff, the bathroom will be a no-go area for all those not in possession of hazmat gear.  As usual.  But the heart wants what it wants and a writer writes and meta crap like that, so I’m neglecting the list of jobs that are mounting up in order to write this.  I’m sure my expected visitors will at least be polite enough to pretend they can’t see the mess as long as they’re here and will only comment on my inadequacy once I’m out of earshot.

There are always things I should do, but don’t.  Find more work, sleep more, get more exercise, wash a dish now and then, train one of the cats to switch the kettle on … important stuff like that.  And there’s also the other list; the things I shouldn’t be doing, or shouldn’t be doing as much: eat less sugar, tweet less, yell less at political programmes, write fewer lists …  But, at the risk of accidentally plagiarising Hallmark’s output for the last century, the thing I should be concentrating on, should have always been concentrating on, is appreciating the things I have while I have them instead of worrying about what I used to have, think I should have had or wish I could get in the future.

Shortly after my dad died at the end of 2014, my mum went into a care home.  Her dementia had left her with short-term memory problems and some confusion, so visits immediately took on a Groundhog Day ambience, only on a 5-minute loop instead of a 24-hour one, and we struggled to have a conversation.  However, a life spent playing board games and doing quizzes had burnt those processes into her brain, so we could still enjoy some quality time together with the Trivial Pursuit or Ludo and little flashes of the intelligence beneath the fog would surface even as she was asking which colour pieces were hers each time it was her turn.  I’d leave when it was time for her to have dinner or for me to go and do mum things instead of daughter things and it’d be just another little interlude in a busy life.

So, when she had an accident last month and went to hospital, we lost those games and had nothing left but Groundhog Day and it was hard to take.  We were all looking forward to the day when we could get her back to the home and slip back into the routine that would let her be herself again, in some small way.  Sadly, that didn’t and won’t happen as she died in the early hours of Wednesday.  Comfortable, clean, sleeping, not alone.  We could all do a lot worse.  Since then, I’ve been cleaning, decorating, making more phone calls than I usually make in a year, eating fast food because I have no time to cook, writing when I shouldn’t be writing and, as ever, not appreciating what I have while I have it.  From now on, when people ask what I do, I’ll give them the honest answer; I fiddle while Rome burns.

I Want To Be A Poemer

I want to be a poemer; I want to write dead good.

I’d love to find the perfect rhyme, like every poemer ought.

I’d write about important things, (the best stuff, not the worst).

But every time I pick one Brian Bilston got there first.

I want to be a poemer; how brilliant would that be?

I’m already great at scanning as I’m certain you can plainly see.

Real poemers are the coolest, which is why I’d love to try it.

I’d write a book of poemings but nobody would buy it.

I’d love to be a poemer, a versador, a bard

But, to be as frank as I know how, it’s just too bloody hard!

Poetry Burnout

I’ve had enough of poetry,

It’s really lost its charm for me,

It’s not the fun it used to be

I think I’ll go on strike!


I’m sick of making lyrics scan.

I’ll just avoid it when I can.

I wish they’d call a rhyming ban

I think I’ll go on strike!


It’s not as though I benefit

From writing any more of it.

It’s almost always really shit!

I think I’ll go on strike!


It’s really getting on my wick.

Won’t even write a limerick:

The thought of it just makes me sick,

I think I’ll go on strike!


But right now NaPoWriMo’s on,

Oh, how I wish it would be gone.

But when the countdown gets to ‘none’

I think I’ll go on strike!