Poem of the Month

Poem of the Month


A new poem will be placed here each month, usually from one of my published collections.


My poem for December 2017 is about my discovery of poetry as a teenager. Today I would probably have attended a writing course or workshop but in those days I just read poetry as a stimulus to writing it. The book alluded to in this poem is my father’s battered World’s Classics edition of Palgrave’s Golden Treasury.


Writing School


I remember the first lesson:

a small book (six by four)

with its jacket off, frail paper,

and some lines about

the boldness of six hundred

stormed at with shot and shell.


And working backwards

to the front, through words

that sang to me, on my bike

as I pushed up and down

on recalcitrant pedals,

on a long and painful hill.


Ozymandias, mellow fruitfulness:

“the canon” – which then meant

a man in a red cassock,

not the wicked curse of dons,

telling us what was good for us.

As if we didn’t already know.