I’ve always been a poet. I wrote my first poem at the age of five whilst on the way to school with my Mum. I can picture exactly which street we were walking along when I first recited it to her. Earlier in the walk we had scuffled through autumn leaves, and I spent the rest of the walk secretly composing a poem about autumn in my head. I still remember the poem now. The scansion needed work, but it did rhyme. And more than that, I remember my own, and my Mum’s, delight, when I shared it with her.

I still have a notebook full of poetry I wrote in early childhood, which I hold very dear. In teenage years I dabbled with non-rhyming poetry and, correctly, found it pointless. At secondary school I used to dash off silly rhymes to amuse my friends. Someone, somewhere still has copies of “I love my orange cardigan” and “Ode to a £3.99 bottle of whisky”.

The thrills and spills of student life, the start of a career, an up and down love life – in my twenties, these things all put childhood interests on a back burner. Fast forward to forty, and, thank God, the mid-life crisis struck with a vengeance. Where had my inner Nina gone, I wailed, as I reflected on a life which seemed to consist of washing small boys’ pants and being late for work. So I picked up my bic biro and a fancy notebook, and I wrote. Not literary poems. Not emotional poems. Silly poems. Because what better therapy for life’s ups and downs than to turn it all into silly, funny, skippity verse.

I haven’t stopped writing since. I hope you find my skippity rhymes therapeutic too.


Nina Parmenter (Poem Inventor)