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Monday 30 January 2023

I received a letter from pupils at Pinewood School, Swindon

I had a strange surprise through my letterbox the other week. To students, who were part of a virtual workshop I led with Pinewood School recently, sent me a handwritten letter! They shared a wonderful poem, and asked me a few questions. You can't see it very clearly, but here is a picture of the letter:

I thought my tens of blog readers might be interested in my response. Here it is:

Dear [names removed] (and everyone else at Pinewood)

Thank you so much for the lovely letter I received recently. This is the only time students have ever written to me at my home address, and it was a fantastic surprise. You wrote your letter in wonderful handwriting; I hope you don’t mind that my response to you is typed. My handwriting is not very neat!

Firstly, I loved your wonderful poem about skiing. Well done! I have never been skiing. I don’t really like snow, so I don’t know if I ever will go. 

You asked me a few interesting questions. Here are my answers:

  • I think I wrote my first ever poem when I was five or six. It was about otters, and it goes like this: ‘An otter had a long tail, and when I say long, I mean really long’. That’s it. It’s not very good. I was only five or six. If you go onto my website you can have a look at some of the work I did when I was in primary school. You can see how bad my spelling was. 

  • I don’t remember the first poem I ever read. It was probably some kind of nursery rhyme. I remember that the first book of poetry I owned was a book called Don’t Put Mustard in the Custard by Michael Rosen. We had a tape cassette (do you know what those are??), and we used to listen to the poems in the car. 

  • Apart from cats and dogs, my favourite animal is the lemur. They are gorgeous!! If I could have one wish, it would be for a pack of lemur to leap all over me. 

Thank you so much, again, for your letter. It really made my day. And thank you to everyone at Pinewood for having me for a lovely virtual visit! If you want to read lots of free poems, please do take a look at my website

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Amazing poems from Year 6, Great Paxton Primary School

I love it when teachers get in touch to share their students' work! Recently, the fantastic Year 6 teacher at Great Paxton Primary School in Cambridgeshire to got in touch, to say her class had been working on poems inspired by my piece Just a Book. She writes: "I am the Year 6 class teacher at Great Paxton Primary School in Cambridgeshire. Recently, the children in my class have studied your poem “Just a Book”. Our topic has been world war 2 and they have created some poems based on Just a Book, however theirs were called Never Just a War. I have included some images of some of their efforts as they were VERY keen for you to see what they have been up to."

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than sharing, on my blog, a selection of their wonderful poetry!

Monday 23 January 2023


There was a bald man named Nadhim 

Whose wallet was full to the brim. 

It wasn’t enough

He craved more of the stuff

But his taxes were looking quite grim.

“I know of a place in Gibraltar”

He uttered with never a falter. 

He hoarded his cash 

In a big hidden stash

As he bowed down at capital’s altar. 

The taxman, he came and said “Oi!

I think that I know of your ploy!

You owe us a lot

So fork out what you’ve got – 

We know that you’ve been a bad boy!”

Zahawi, he said he’d lacked care

But of wrongs he was quite unaware. 

“I’m rich, with connections

So stop your objections.”

He opened his purse and said “There!”

So Zahawi will doubtless go free.

He’s posh and important you see. 

The things that he does

Are permitted because

He is different to you and to me.

[important Tory Nadhim Zahawi plays fast and loose with his tax and there's nothing you or anyone else can do about it, OK?]

Thursday 12 January 2023


You can decorate the walls 

and you can plump up the settee;

you can go into the yard

and cultivate an apple tree; 

You can polish all the china;

you can lay a welcome mat,

but a home is not a home

without an itty kitty cat.

You can have a massive telly

and hang pictures left and right;

put keepsakes on the mantelpiece

in dappled candlelight;

you can hammer in a nail

for a place to hang your hat,

but a home is not a home

without an itty kitty cat.

You can get a fancy mansion

in a beautiful location;

procure a cosy cottage

with no semblance of privation;

you can buy a barge, or caravan,

but here’s the caveat;

a home is not a home

without an




(And a kitty can live

wherever you choose,

but will always prefer

to live in a mews…)

Monday 9 January 2023

Two fantastic poems from Markeaton Primary School, Derbyshire

Emma, a teacher at Markeaton Primary School, has been in touch to share with me some poems written by her pupils. I had a lovely visit to the school last term, and am really pleased that my visit seems to have inspired some wonderful writing! Here is a pair of poems, written by Maya and Mollie:

Open Wide by Maya

Imagine if swallowing were real.
My hair would become big beautiful tresses of broccoli,
Booming on a guitar amp.
My fingers would be famously fantastic french fries,
Speaking like a ghost pipes.
My eyes would be super circles of pepperoni -
Spicy chilli hot sauce.
My toes would be the warming feeling of socks in a dryer
That is found in warm pie and custard.
Lonely by Mollie

I am a deserted island and no one can hear my cries.
I am a barren iceberg floating silently in the vast ocean.
I am a small child living on the street -
All my friends have run away.
I am a king or queen with no one to rule.
With no one beside of me.
I am a glum shadow with no one to own me.
I am lonely.

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Some Thoughts on Marriage and Compatibility

Compatibility is not the basis for a good marriage. It is what arises from a good marriage. We create compatility; it does not create us. Indeed, perhaps the only point of compatibility necessary at the outset of a successful marriage is the mutual willingness to create the compatibility that will go on to sustain it. Any ostensible points of ‘incompatibility’ can in this way be overcome. We therefore need not look at what we want in a partner, so much as what we want of ourselves. As Harville Hendrix notes, “[i}n an unconscious marriage, you believe the way to have a good marriage is to pick the right partner. In a conscious marriage, you realise you have to be the right partner.” Picking a partner on the basis of a ‘checklist’ of attributes forecloses our own ability to adapt and develop, so let’s approach things from the other direction: recognising and cultivating this very ability in ourselves enables us to expand our checklists almost infinitely, and thus opens the space for our selves and our partnerships to grow and flourish in ways that we never could have imagined.