21st March, 2014 World Poetry Day special for BBC Radio Northampton's Drivetime show! Thank you, Dan Chisholm, for having me on... Click the player below to catch it again... Don’t mention the ‘P’ word… It used to give me shivers when my teacher said the word My face would lose its colour, whilst my ears hoped they’d misheard I always felt quite stupid, even foolish and absurd But nothing stirred, my brain stayed blurred, when I used to hear that word… I thought it was a secret world, with secret laws and rules Only known by clever folk, not for the likes of fools And the chosen few were spotted in a special set of schools With spools of tools to teach those jewels, those ever out-of-reachy rules… So on my merry way I went, accepting of my fate That I would not be one of them, being no sophisticate I’d have to stick to novels for my thirst for words to sate ‘Twas no great weight upon my state, to entertain that lowly fate But then one dreary Marchy day whilst waiting for a t(w)rain I chanced upon a man, reading, laughing in the rain I asked him, in this weather, what on earth could entertain? And he explained – a light refrain, a poem written by Mark Twain My blood ran cold. I backed away. The poor man looked nonplussed “Dear, Girl,” he said, “does witty verse so fill you with disgust?” “Not verse,” said I, “but poetry. It makes my brain combust…” And that must just have won his trust. He nodded, looking less nonplussed “Well, let me tell you lassie, don’t get hung up on a word. Even experts can’t agree on how the term should be inferred. So call it what you like – Bob, Tom, or Marg, or even Gert If it stirs and spurs and un-deters. Job done! Then fear has left that word And let those experts argue ‘bout their complex rules and laws It keeps the poor souls happy, whilst a lesser scribbler snores For amateurs and experts still pursue a worthy cause To explore and soar with words galore, ignoring some or all the laws…” And at that point, the train arrived, but not before he said… “Don’t get hung up on a word name, stop it bothering your head Call ‘P’ something different, put your fear of it to bed…” So instead, I called it ‘Fred’, and the ‘P’ word never ‘gain was said So now if I start writing I no longer feel dismay ‘Cos Fred and I have clicked, if with words I want to play I find it therapeutic when in rhymes I can relay A communique, or cheeky bray, or note to ease my hub’s dismay And yes, I’m very happy writing poems in all but name Some are rude and some are brash and some are somewhat tame And asked ‘bout what inspires me, I admit Fred gets the blame “Fred?!” Hub exclaims. And I proclaim, “Oh, don’t get hung up on a name…”.