Why Poetry? In one word: passion.

When first asked why I write poetry, I wasn’t sure how to respond, but it soon became clear to me. In one word: passion. Anything that grips me and I feel strongly about.

Living happily and fairly quietly in Cyprus after moving from London, has given me time and space and inspiration to develop what I enjoy most – writing poems expressing love, frustration, anger. We all feel these emotions and it’s fascinating to present them in verse.

Some topics are really challenging, particularly the traumatic experiences of children in need, whose welfare I have prioritized for most of my life. How could I write about a child whose brain does not function? But I did, by witnessing the excellent work for the development of mentally handicapped children by the Theotokos Foundation in Cyprus.

I am also greatly impressed by the caring services provided for terminally ill sufferers and support for their families by ‘Friends for Life’ Limassol Hospice Care Appeal. This is much needed compassionate work in Cyprus. Sales of my first and second volumes of Cyprus Symphony went to these two charities.

It is easier to be critical than write about success, but I do strive to strike a balance. The third volume completes my Cyprus Symphony Trilogy. The topics are wide-ranging, from hospital neglect that costs lives, to graffiti defacing buildings and wars. I was determined to reflect on the tawdry expenses claims in the British Parliament – but in the positive setting of the resilience and the on-going achievements of the British home of democracy, the Palace of Westminster.

I’ve never come across a taboo topic and Volume 3 – published online in 2012 – shows I am not shy writing about myself or my family, who bring me great joy. Though it’s a British trait not to expose our feelings, I know there are people who feel the same way as me about themselves but are afraid of expressing it.

Friends, lasting or fleeting, feature on these pages. I’ve written about good people and my happiness in Cyprus, enhanced so much by my recent experience as producer and co-presenter on the morning programme of Coast FM, in Limassol. Alas, cruelty to animals continues unashamedly in Cyprus. Birds free to fly, trapped for the serving dish; pet cats killed by cretins putting down poison misguided for vermin.

I’m excited that my poem “Change” has become lyrics and set to music. You can hear this song, music written by Chris Poulson and titled “It doesn’t have to be this way” by visiting: https://www.ladyhaslam.com/lyrics/

I am proud of what I’ve written and never had any regrets – though, later on, some poems appeal to me more than others. I do allow myself a little exaggeration at times when writing about my personal feelings. One does that sometimes.

Rather than offer praise or criticism, most people talk to me about particular poems that touch them. “I understand what you mean,” they tend to say. That pleases me greatly and encourages me to continue.

Elizabeth Haslam

I established the Michael Sieff Foundation in 1987 in memory of the life and work of my husband Michael Sieff.

I have a background of welfare work in industry and the community.