If I were writing this a year ago I would have known better what to say. I’d have been sharing with you a creative rhythm established over many years: the discipline of morning pages done in bed with a first cup of tea or on the bus to work, the importance of stopping and listening, the need to set aside longer periods throughout the year for sustained creative work. I’d have talked about the difficulties of finding windows of time for poetry when it’s Windows that takes up most of our time. I’d have perhaps mapped out the journey of a typical poem for me – from initial inspiration through the, sometimes frustrating more often rewarding, process of editing to the final poem. In short I’d have had some advice to give.

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It is four in the morning and I am trying to focus on the ornamental cherry framed by this window at the back of the house. It’s high summer and the sky is just beginning to flush with light. I’ve been watching this cherry tree now night after night, day after day for over a month.