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The Knack: How to write a poem

Never rhyme id with lid, advises Brian Patten
"The best time to write a poem

Is following a trauma-

(`Loved One Eaten By Llama!')

For verse that's McGonagally bad

Fall in love with a hopeless lad,

Or with a woman who, wholly unknowable,

Will have you writing

Wholly disposable

Verse like this.

But if you wish to be considered Serious

You must make the Average

Appear Mysterious.

And to boost the ego and to show

A wider knowledge of your Art

You must never rhyme the id with lid,

But choose instead the chromatid

And if you find that sight-rhymes bore

Then aim your sights at Arkansas.

But for poems that can make the closed heart sing,

For lines that are clear and that strike true.

Remind us of what we forgot we knew"

A new edition of `Mr Moon's Last Case', for which Brian Patten won a Mystery Writers of American Special Award, is published by Puffin Books on 26 June at pounds 4.99