poet, much praised as a master of light verse for his comic observations of human behaviour and his characteristic offbeat wit. His poems reveal a fascination with English eccentricity and, as in The Bear Looked Over the Mountain (1977), compassionate portraits of characters who are often lost, failed, or doubting their sanity. Bump‐starting the Hearse (1983) includes ‘The Day Room’, a moving sequence on life in a psychiatric ward. His poems are collected in Hoping It Might Be So: Poems 1974–2000 (2000). Other volumes include Short Afternoons (1989) and several verse collections for children.