Why? – My very first published work. Published in the Ashbeian (annual magazine of Ashby-de-la Zouch Boy’s Grammar School) in 1972. I think that I must have peaked early in the poetry stakes. What a load of teenage depression! In my defence we were in the middle of the Cold War and expected to be incinerated at any minute.


In the darkness like a tomb,
In the warmth and safety of his mother’s womb,
A child lies innocent, unknowing, unaware
That when he is born he might have to bear
The lives of others in his hands,
To fight and wage wars in foreign lands.

For he is born into a world
Where selfish men are deep, so deep in sin,
Where wars are waged to kill and not to win.
Would he ask the question, why
So many people have to die?
No one could answer him.

Oh, be he strong,
And of good will,
That he might curve the upward hill
To our obliteration.
Oh, be he brave
And stop this mad engulfment of our lives,
That leads us to the grave
As our world dies.

But oh, so likely he will be
An ordinary common man like me,
Who has no power or courage or might
To lead this outward bitter fight.

My Brother – Another schoolboy poem, which my English teacher rated so highly that he said I should become a writer. Forty odd years later, and I am finally trying to follow his advice. This was reconstituted from handwritten scraps of paper found in an old box of photographs. One line was partially missing and I’m not happy with its replacement. I just can’t get into the mindset of my fifteen-year-old self.

My Brother

My brother is a collector of books,
He’s got thousands and thousands, wherever you look.
He’s got volumes and volumes and volumes galore,
Piles on the staircase and piles on the floor.
If he sees a book in a store or a shop,
He’s got to buy it whether he’s got it or not.
He’ll find you anything you want to know,
The elements of soot, what time the buses go.
He’s got books for the lawyer, books for the clown,
Some make you laugh, others make you frown.
He’s got volumes and volumes and volumes galore,
Piles on the staircase and piles on the floor;
Up in his bedroom rising stacks,
He’s got a bedroom full of facts.

June – My first and unrequited love. Found in the same box. Oh, the teenage angst! I still haven’t got over the heart ache.


Silhouette against the springtime moon,
Lovely as the sun stands June.
Eyes that sparkle; smile so sweet;
Lips so precious joy to eat.
Perfume swells my heart’s desire,
Oh to quench this inner fire
And in her arms caresses feel
‘Till at last to me she yields.
But, alas, it cannot be,
For another lovestshe.
Silhouette against the autumn moon
Lovely as the sun stands June.