Can you remember the first poem you wrote?

I can because my mother wrote them down, some of them. When I was about two and a half, I used to go round the house shouting rhymes, and some of them went, 'Molly and Polly get your dolly', and 'Gertie and Bertie don't be dirty'... But the first one I can remember that I wrote for other people was - I was about seven and I wrote a poem about Christopher Columbus, a pretty bad poem about Christopher Columbus which I'm not going to do for you, and at that time I was writing to please my friends, just to make my friends laugh, really. And when I was fourteen I started to write because I fell in love, and I didn't know what to do with it, and so I wrote poems every night to this girl I didn't see except once a year, and never showed them to her. And at the same time I was writing poems about war, because I was getting very angry about war and trying to find out why it was that people killed each other. So I was writing poems to try and understand love, and to try and understand war.

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