I hope you’re sitting down, for I’m about
To hit you, readers, with a heresy.
Long cogitations leave no room for doubt:
I don’t believe I have a book in me.
I’ve done the exercises, tried to find
A setting, plot and characters; in vain.
No openings or endings spring to mind;
No Booker winner blazes in my brain.
For me, though rhyme and rhythm bring no hoard
Of gold, no prizes, TV shows or fame,
To give the land a voice is my reward;
My hope, to be a poet worth the name.
Let others write their novels: I will stay
True to this path. I know no other way.


It’s accepted wisdom – a cliche, in fact – that ‘everyone has a book in them’. I beg to differ. After years of fruitless labour and self-deception, I have finally accepted the truth: I am not a novelist, and never will be. I’ve filled dozens of notebooks and a good chunk of my hard-drive with synopses, character sketches, opening chapters and stories that expired midway through Chapter Five, choked on their own convolutions and contrivances. How anyone manages to sustain an idea long enough to write 80,000-odd words is beyond me. I’m not claiming to be a poet, either, let me hasten to add. All I know is, poetry is where I feel , at last, that I belong. I know there are some readers out there who successfully write both poetry and prose: has anyone else tried writing novels, but just can’t seem to find it in themselves? Or is is just me?! N.