Poetic Licence

Poet A wins an Exmoor poetry competition - until someone points out that his poem is very similar to one by poet B. He tries to explain. "I was working on a poem about my childhood experiences in Exmoor and was careless. I used poet B's poem as a model for my own but rushed and ended up submitting a draft that wasn't entirely my own work."

Fair enough, you might think. Strange types these poets, at the mercy of the sub-conscious, never knowing whether or not the gold they're producing is their own, or an echo of someone else. But then you look at the facts. Both poems have 18 lines. 16 of those lines are identical. The two that have been changed - very much for the worse - allowed poet A to slip in an Exmoor reference which wasn't in poet B's. Otherwise, it's ninety per cent theft.