Give me five…

Give me five…

So often
I casually say
I just
Dashed it off
In five minutes.
It’s nothing.

And usually
It is.


If they told me
I had just four minutes
Not to write a poem
Boil an egg
Walk to the station
Drink a cup of tea
Make and eat a sandwich
Or listen to a single song
But to break
A record
Long held
To be

I’d run a mile.


We grew up thinking
One day,
They’ll say
This is it:
You’ve only got three minutes.

So that even now
To be given
So little time
Still has the power
To scare me.


A couple of minutes, no more –
Then I have to be out of the door
And when time is so tight
It’s quite tricky to write
Will I make it? I’m really not sure.


And now it’s just me
Against the clock.
Can my four fingers
Outrun its two hands
And get to the end
Or will I simply
Run out of


These poems are the result of a ridiculous challenge I set myself the other day. I had a quarter of an hour before I had to leave for a meeting, so I gave myself exactly five minutes to write a poem, then  four to do another one, then three, and so on. Lots of fun, but it made my brain hurt.