Any significant crossroads?
I believe it would be fair to say that I have had more ‘significant crossroads’ in my life than the London Underground System… But an opportunity to apply myself full time to my poetry has been the most influential of them.
What have you learnt most about yourself?
Writing, particularly writing poetry, teaches you to be honest with yourself. You learn to both recognise and acknowledge your own strengths and weaknesses very quickly. In the lifelong study of the human condition that comes of writing poetry, I have learned that the only thing of which I am absolutely sure is the profundity of my own ignorance.
What words of wisdom would you give to a Sixth Form student leaving DHSB?
In my three score and more years I have met a great many men of varying character and achievement.
Of all those; I can think of few who regretted the things they did and a great many who regretted the things they did not.
A man’s achievements are not necessarily measured in either coin or property for a shroud has no pockets… I will quote from one of my own poems…
“Humbled in their mortality, and pressed cheek by jowl with eternity, all men lie equal; Remembered each, not for the price of their shoes…But for how well they danced!”
Any fond memories of school you can share?
I have fond memories of the friends I made, the rough and tumble of school life, and I would have not, in hindsight, have missed those great larger than life characters with which the then teaching staff was peppered. Dr. ‘Doc’ Creswell made a lasting impression on me.
Do you have a message for any of your old teachers?
To John ‘Johnny’ Bowden, my first form master who brought the English language alive for me – my warmest thanks.