More often than not perfection for me consists of an afternoon listening to birdsong in the quiet of my teensy garden in the shade — when it’s not too hot, not too cold and a wee bit breezy.

So after doing the laundry,  commenting on a few poems over at WRITEWORDS, and revising a poem of my own about New York, I spent an hour or so just sitting in the arbour with Dylan Thomas, a notepad and a Duckula’s Downfall — that’s one part white wine (or lemonade) to one part mango juice with grenadine or in this case creme de cassis in the bottom.


Tom Hollander made such a good job of playing Thomas in BBC Drama A POET IN NEW YORK that it has inspired me to reread some of his work, as an antidote to the wastrel image. The reason it was so good was because Hollander’s sensitive portrayal managed to leave the man Dylan Thomas intact — a horror and yet still one of the greatest poets the world has ever seen — WITHOUT  making us hate him! It wasn’t his fault. He was an alcoholic and God pity anyone with that condition, but it seemed he didn’t exactly try to curb his excesses.

On the other hand — had Dylan Thomas held down an ordinary job and been an ordinary man he might never have been an extraordinary poet.

I invented Duckula’s Downfall for students of mine in Port Talbot (the lemonade version of course.) I invented that, and many spelling games and lots of entertaining ways to learn lots of things including maths and poetry. But it meant I couldn’t write much in all those teaching years. I did write some poetry but on the whole my energy went into teaching as recently it has gone into editing.

But since leaving the classroom I have written hundreds of poems, published thousands of poems as editor at EDP and commented on thousands elsewhere as well as writing other stuff such as HORROR.

I just had the one Downfall 😉 by the way
and shall probably remain mediocre all my days
but I could not and would not like to pay
that price for genius or for infamy.

Would you? AND Do you think genius always has a price?


I wouldn’t mind getting a book out there though — I am told submitting helps — and maybe a bit of bloody minded hubris?