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I had a fabulous time at ‘Taking the Mic’ last night, an open mic night in the heart (the bar!) of Exeter’s cultural hub (The Phoenix!). Met some wonderful, talented people and felt warmly welcomed, as I was there for the first time. While I’m still buzzing and gushing, I’d like to share one of the poems I read there.

Listen and/or read as you prefer – enjoy!

What are your hot questions?



Do we get colder

as we grow older?

I don’t mean extremities

becoming more sensitive

to the seasons

I mean do we stop

asking hot questions?


Why do people go to war –

what’s it for?

Why are foodbanks necessary –

isn’t there plenty?

Why do the eight richest men, between them possess

the same as 3.6 billion of the most dispossessed?

Why are over 1,000,000 elderly chronically lonely –

when we think we’re all so FB’ing connected socially?

See, I think we complicate things

as we get older,

like putting on a jumper, or shawl

when you’re cold

to take the edge off

the discomfort.

Add a few layers of spin and complication

and the burning hot question

gets easier to handle and discard

somewhere it won’t burn

a hole in a heart.

Even though we can mend those too right,

I mean we’ve been doing

heart surgery for two centuries,

but you and I both know

I’m not talking

about that kind of hole.

The soul

can’t be sliced, stitched, stapled –

but it likes questions.

So maybe to warm up again

we need to start small

and ask why we –

crossed the road

turned away

didn’t say

what we really thought


we were ashamed


didn’t want to lose a job.

But it’s ok

we’ve got great hot question teachers

they’re all around us

but you might want to bend you knees a little

and open your heart a lot

and be brave enough to say,

you know what, I don’t know.

What do you think?