He said he never wanted to be me again. He asked me never to bury him again None so blind as those who’re on TV. I see what you scheme I’ll catch the late train and be stoned tomorrow Please deceive me,I won’t know The last chance will be a horror Until wrath us do part. Until the penalty’s stark It’s better to have loved the dustthan never to have loved the balls Men are in jars, women are in beakers
We walk along the Pennine way some years If farmers let the bulls out,we don’t care I like stiles and jumping over walls But then I’m not a man with stuff to haul I like mountains,I like lakes and boats I like being tickled as we float I like sheep that follow me all day Trying to find the perfect spot to pray Up near Dent the sheep beg very well They learn to knit while sitting on a Fell In the winter Dent is somewhat cold It feels more frosty to the very old I’ll never go to Dent or Alston now Unless the bull is gone and there’s a cow I’ll never climb up Coniston Old Man Nor meet Mary,Annie, Dave or Stan They are in another kinder place Where one the women made the famous lace On the River Trent come down the Peak Do not wear your shoes unless you’ve feet
I see the tins I used for Christmas Cakes The Russian Cheese Cake and the apple tart Nowadays do younger women bake? I remember mother making Buns Hot,uncross, she made cakes with her heart Her apple suet pudding beat her plum The kitchen was a room with its own fire There we ate and cooked and fought,alarmed Children pinch and nip and even bite I banged my head upon the table sharp The corners seemed to hate me,even spurn I wished I were a dog so I could bark I fell down the stairs, it was a thrill It hurt less than the beatings made me smart Children were deprived of any will
Shall these cake tins from my home depart? Shall I make a small cake from a chart? I hold the tin I used for Christmas Cake Watching TV where new experts bake
I feel a kind of numbness on this January day The darkness came down sudden and I feel it’s here to stay Shall I make myself some tea and pretend that you are here? I feel naked like the wood underneath that swish veneer I’m feeling kinda nothin’ now the melancholy’s gone Should I be doing summat that’ll give me, like, some fun? The silence is not threatening, but neither is it good Did you ever wish yourself , you weren’t made of flesh and blood? I’m feeling so damned stupid for falling on my back My shoulder was in agony and there’s whiplash in my neck The doctor, he injected me, but he said it’s down to luck He may have missed the mark, he saysand I just say,oh heck Apparently the elderly are not in much demand I heard a sorta whisper as my head went in the sand We must keep this hidden or we’ll frighten off the young They don’t seem to notice but the cat does lick my hand
I didn’t know how old I was till the clock flew off the wall Isn’t it uncanny what you see before the Fall?
Hello Mary. what are you doing today? There stood a vision dressed in a teal jumpsuit it was Annie, Stan’s mistress,[ when he was alive.] Quite what her status as a former mistress can be is unknown,but she remained on friendly terms with Mary ;she had helped Mary a good deal while she was grieving,mainly by being present yet undemanding not to mention making frequent cups of tea and putting out the washing
I’m going to stay with the Pope in Rome ,Mary cried out from her pink armchair
Are you being sarcastic, ironic, or have you gone mad? Annie replied politely
Well I was trying to be sarcastic but I am not very good at it yet I hope to improve as time goes by because research shows being sarcastic improves your creativity
But can you be sure which part of your life will become more creative, Annie ask her thoughtfully with a little grin
For example you might become more creative in the way you trying to attract men
Well that would not be difficult, said Mary ,as I do nothing to try to attract them at the moment and on the other hand it could be rather time-consuming
Would it improve my ability to write in a creative manner or to be more creative in what I cook?
I have no idea Annie told her. the only problem is is that if you practice on me it might affect our friendship
You are far too childish, Mary told her. Is that sarcastic?
Tell me, the ex mistress of your ancient husband!
What do you mean ancient, he was only 23!
23 what? said Annie
Are we being sarcastic?
Well if we can’t know the answer then we are not being sarcastic because I am sure we would realise if we were
I am glad you can express yourself in such a brief manner
What have briefs got to do with it?
I just found a bag full of dry ones and I have been folding them and putting them into the drawer
Do you mean knickers?
Yes, I do, but I couldn’t remember the name
You’re pulling my leg
No I’m not. I’m nowhere near your leg
Don’t tell me that you are not familiar with the expression meaning “you are joking”
Why do you assume I am not familiar with anything?
I am giving you the benefit of the doubt
Doubt is a very dangerous State of Mind
Shall I wear the pink knickers or the blue ones I spend all morning trying to decide so it is best not to doubt anything but to believe that what you do must be correct and everybody else is wrong
That’s alright as long as you’re not stealing people’s husbands
If they can be stolen so easily what does that tell us about the state of the marriage? Nothing nothing at all, men are so easily beguiled that is in the best of marriages they’re not be enough to keep them faithful for ever
Don’t be so horrible I was trying to be sarcastic Should it not come naturally like loving?
What kind of loving do you mean? If you mean physical loving it doesn’t always come naturally to human beings’
.many couples go for help in having a baby and the doctor discovers they didn’t realise what sex was
They thought by sleeping in the same bed, the wife will get pregnant
It seems very hard to believe but compared to thinking about Donald Trump
and his lies, it is nothing
Shall I put the kettle on, said Mary
That is sarcastic Annie said because you know that I always put it on when I am here it is more like dropping hints Mary cried All these things are very hard for scientists. You don’t solve mathematical problems by dropping a hint nor does anyone drop hints to you whereas in interpersonal relationships it is very important to be able to drop hints and to be able to take hints when they’re dropped in front of you Mathematics and physics much easier than everyday life because they contain no sarcasm no irony and no hints whatsoever I wonder if Wittgenstein would agree with you.
As he is dead we cannot know but I am almost sure he would agree
I was just being sarcastic,that’s all!
It seems like that Mary and Annie are going to have to spend much longer practicing sarcasm before they were able to go outside and be sarcastic to neighbours or Friends
well Emile’s view is that he will not accept sarcasm from anybody
He will bite the hand that feeds him if necessary because he knows that Mary will forgive him when he apologizes
On the other hand it would be easier if he didn’t bite anyone And God might be angry with Emile for being a trying animal to live with
I can only comment in a verse A villanelle for virtue,my defence I don’t know what you mean for you are terse
Love or hate,I don’t know what is worse Is this life a very spiteful test? I can only comment in a verse In my bag I have a purple purse Money is so dirty it’s a pest I don’t know what you mean when you are terse
When we marry, we won’t be the first We need a godly priest for I confess I can only comment in a verse Do not pay my bill which I detest At our party let us all be blessed I don’t know what you want when you are terse
I am in a struggle, can you guess? I am well endowed with happiness A villanelle for virtue is the best I don’t know what you mean you are so terse
The ritual is to put the garbage out My day begins the night before it’s due When I recall the day, I have to count Instead of Mass, we put the garbage out No Confession so no sin,no horrid doubt No neighbours and no prayer,no ancient pew The only ritual left, toss garbage out My mind begins to think about the clue
Every poem begins with a first line After that we choose the space and time The words float in my head till they combine Must a poem begin with its first line? Some are bold and some are more refined Some are free and some have lissom rhymes A poem begins by finding a first line After that we search the Deep Words Mine
Stan awoke feeling very thirsty.My, this bed is much too hard,he thought.He put out his hand and felt some wood not far away.It was his desk. Emile was lying on his stomach purring. You fell out of bed,the little cat miaowed.Luckily I clung on with my claws and I am ok sleeping down here….I can see any mice better. Well,it’s not ok with me,Stan informed him gently.How can I get up from here? He picked up the Cambridge Companion to Sylvia’ Plath and banged on his desk softly. Mary was awake and heard a strange sound.She got up and found Stan lying on the floor with his head by his desk. Emile wanted to sleep by the wall,you see.,he told her. Then he rolled over and I fell out. That is logically and scientifically unsensible,Mary told him. Surely Emile is not so big that his weight was enough to knock you out of the bed?It is against the law of gravityAnyway,why don’t you get up? I like it down here,the old man lied to her. OK Mary said,then she picked up the phone and rang 999. Hello,she said.My cat is very upset as he feels guilty for pushing my husband out of bed. How terrible for you,the man answered.I’ll send an ambulance right away. Mary opened the front door and left it unlatched whilst she lit the electric lights with a match. How do you feel Stan,she enquired. I am thirsty,give me so brandy,he ordered her politely as he was very full of kindness. They said not to let you or Emile drink or eat. Blooming ridiculous,he told her in a manly fashion Soon the ambulance arrived and the paramedics were running up the stairs to seee the poor cat. Mary fainted so they laid her on the bed whilst they comforted Emile and cleaned his paws. Then they picked up Stan and laid him right next to Mary,his wife. Why don’t you have a bigger bed,one asked Stan. Bigger than what,he responded academically. Well,if you were any fatter you’d not be able to get laid with your wife. True,he replied but I am 96 you know.I have erectile malefaction already and am unwilling to have more mistresses and lovers or even concubines. I shall make you some tea the female paramedic told them forcefully Well,you don’t seem to be hurt,the other one told Stan, but the cat may need therapy or counselling because of the guilt he will feel. He’s not a Catholic I hope. No, he’s Jewish,Stan shouted nervously. That’s alright then.He can have concubines if he chooses.How do cats get to be Jewish anyhow/ It’s their souls,Mary said…they are all waiting up there for a suitable place to be reborn and some choose to be cats. But how can you tell? he asked wonderingly.They have no prayer shawls They miaow in Hebrew,Mary said loftily.And they like to sing the psalms before bed. But how do you know it’s Hebrew,he replied.Do you speak it? No, it’s just he hates bacon and peperoni and always wears a hat so it seems he must be one of Jesus’s friends,but not Judas of course.I suppose Jesus wore a hat but it’s never been found as yet.Not even being sold as relics. Well,that’s intriguing.Do you think Emile might be the Messiah? Oh,dear.We never thought of that.Will he have to go to Galilee and catch fish and walk on water? No, he can go to Rome and tell the Pope that the Church is not what God planned. I hope they don’t kill him,Mary cried… God will not be very happy. I didn’t know God had moods,Stan said. He has post-creative depressive disorder….no wonder when we look round he world. Still they did try,I’ll say that for him or her. And so say all of us For he’s a very good yeller,he’s a very good yeller A cat’s life is a fuss.Miaow
My husband has a rubber face,
He’s from a subset of the human race.
Some men have faces fixed and set;
My husband’s face is not like that.
He imitates our politicians,
Just like Rory Bremner can.
Though he has no wig or hair piece,
He can look like anyone.
Some nights I waken for I am laughing
While I am quite sound asleep.
I am dreaming of his mobile features,
Contorted to a different shape.
He is skilled at telling jokes.
And he loves a good cartoon.
If I am feeling flu style blueness
I he can get me up again.
He has a rather noble visage.
He gets attention he abbhors.
In the bar on King’s Cross Station—
I was asked was he a Lord!
He’s a Lord of Fun and Humour.
He’s a Lord at Listening Well.
He’s unique, but so are you,
And all creatures that on earth do dwell
With the Mass in Latin,I believed. The words evoked what no-one could conceive The women in their hats looked like proud queens What was, what is, and what once might have been The men came late,hung over, full of dreams They took no Wafer, drunk from living streams I did not mind confessing made up sins. Nor did I mind beans found in small tins.
Religion gives fresh themes to those obsessed Guilt and sin,but scruples are the best I went to church and told God I was through He said, hang on,I’ll send my Light to you.
Thus it was that I was saved from death I had worshipped Satan in duress. After that I took a job for health I am rich in love, though not in wealth
To me there is a White House of the Soul We shall meet again there when we’re whole A place of beauty, space and coloured light God won’t boast, and neither will the mice
Trees lean over, watchful as we meet The tall ones do not shiver in the breeze Trees can hear the torment in our speech We have flowering cherry in our street But mine died like my lover with great ease Trees lean over listening as we meet
The tree won’t bend too close, it will not reach As panic,worry, horror,nightmares squeeze Trees discern the music in our squeaks
Alas, no tree has mastered human speech But when they can, they coax the honey bees Trees lean over sweetly as we meet
The leaves will rustle,wrestle and may tease Smile for selfies,what’s the word, it’s cheese Trees lean over, wonder, and conceive Yet trees hate noone, nor do they believe
Waiter, there’s a tear in my soup How can you tell? It’s quite clear I can’t see anything That’s the whole point
Waiter,my egg is too hard If it’s boiled I can’t reverse that What, all this modern science and we can’t soften a hard boiled egg I could mix some butter into the yolk I’ve eaten that You are trying to eat the egg cup! Is that what it is? Did you not have any at home? No, we never ate eggs Now we know why!
My wife has had a baby What’s its name? Aubergine Why? It’s purple with crying Well, it will stop eventually I hope so.My wife is worn out So why are you here? She says after this pain she never wants to make love again How do you feel about that? Is it my fault God made the birth canal so narrow? Well after a few more babies it will get wider A few more!Can’t the doctor help? Well, it’s against medical ethics really but he could use a shoe widener His shoes are too narrow, I suppose so. I think it is too big Well,she will forget when the baby sleeps Forget what? What fertilised the egg And what does that? Don’t you know? A spider? It’s sex I can’t tell the sex of s spider No, when you have sex. But we’ve had it 365 times and only had one baby Better luck next time
The sun was shining in the night I woke at half past three The moon was cut in half again Send the rest a flea The night was dark, the light was off Please do not blame me The cat was hungry so I made Some chips and Earl Grey tea My husband was asleep again So I climbed the Xmas tree I found no coins or chocolates Just a mouldy pack of Brie I hunted high,I hunted low But found no new decree I spun till I got vertigo And fell into the sea Here I float on a small boat Will God still love my me?