The dreaded Sometimes


This is in hope of saving us all some email enquiries...


Policy on reproduction of "Sometimes"

  • it's OK to put it on personal blogs

  • if you're a student, you can use it for coursework

  • if you're an exam board, you cannot use it as an exam question. Not that you'll listen, of course - exam boards are the world's rudest bodies, who reproduce work without either asking or paying.

  • if you want it for a non-charitable poetry anthology, the answer's no

  • I will allow it to be read for charitable purposes (NB NOT ones which proselytise on behalf of any religion, and NOT medical ones which fund research on animals, and I won't change my mind on that for anyone, so please don't ask). But I would still refuse permission for actual reproduction, unless it was a charity I felt very strongly about.

  • if you're an "inclusive language" fanatic who wants to replace "man" with "human being" and ruin the scansion, don't you dare!!! 

  • and if you do quote or reproduce it, I would rather you left my name off. I really do hate it that much.  The comedian Arthur Smith, who's been using it in a charitable/memorial context for some time, respects my feelings on this by never mentioning my name, and I very much appreciate that. If you want to quote it at your friend's funeral, I am not so hard-hearted as to refuse, I just don't want my name mentioned.

I'm doing this because the poem just doesn't represent the kind of poet I want to be. I know many people like it but it exists on many other sites so I am not depriving them of anything, and I'd rather they didn't email asking me to change my mind about it, because I can't.