08/28/2013 06:58 am ET | Updated Oct 28, 2013

Featured Fifty Poetry: The Great I Am

PV Harrington is a British writer/journalist based in France. His work draws on earlier incarnations which include stints as a psychiatric nurse, university lecturer in China, newspaper news editor, stand-up comic and radio chat show host. When he was a baby his family spent time in Detroit where, his father told him, they lived too close to Berry Gordy for him to get enough sleep. PV now understands it would have been impossible to live too close to Mr Motown. Harrington studied in Liverpool where he was introduced to the 'Liverpool' Poets' Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and Roger McGough. His first anthology of poetry was published in 2013 by Minnesota-based Twowolvz Press. He now lives a life of semi-amazement in Maisons-Laffitte with his long-suffering wife Shelagh and two wonderful children.

For me the key to connecting with poetry is the same key to being in love: empathy.

I am a gay man

Awaiting the day

When my sexuality

Means nothing

to anyone

unless you're interested.

I am the only breadwinner


only bread.

I am a mother of four

In Somalia

Wondering which one

to save


I am on death-row in America

Wondering how killing someone

can be so wrong

and yet


I am a prisoner

in China

I have

lost hope.

I'm a high-flyer

who can't cope.

I am a middle-aged machinist

And things have


Now very few of my colleagues

call me

Paki bastard

to my face.

I am a petty criminal

Waiting for

My big break

I am old

and useless,

Many think.

I have mental issues

So I must be faking it,

mustn't I.

I am a teenager

Who thinks

The world is anti-social, surly

And uncommunicative

Not I.

I have a broken heart

But you've been through it

So that's alright then.

I am a child

Complaining of abuse

To the authority figures

Who are

Abusing me.

I am an ordinary person

Aware that there is no such thing

As an ordinary life.

And who might you be...?