Monday 9 December 2013

Homage to Wendy Cope

Some poets are pretentious
but Wendy's not one to drone
she likes to keep us entertained
with insights all her own.

One man failed to bring her flowers
and took the corkscrew from her flat
but she doesn't really mourn him
at least no more than she does the cat

She knows she needs to sober up
she tries with good intent
but yoga and the swimming pool
lead only to lament.

There's the snoring and the arguing
but as a man he's barely to blame
and he is her favourite poet
so she loves him all the same.

She likes to widen her appeal
with cricket and football
but returns almost inevitably 
to complaints about the rain fall.

Then she can be much more lyrical
with chestnut trees and cold bus stops,
Houseman, Eliot and Wordsworth,
and Nanna's wooly socks.

A poet's life is pretty rough
both in the country and in town
they don't get paid much money
and their poems often get turned down.

Wendy Cope's 'Serious Concerns' has been the final book in my 2013 TBR Pile Challenge, which I mostly read aloud in bed. I get the impression that rhyme is not as popular as it once was amongst poets but it certainly is her forte, and she has pithy insights on many aspects of the human condition. Her love poems lurch between chilly indifference and joyful obsession, as if there is no happy medium. I guess I like her partly because she is obviously a pragmatist, and failing that a stiff drink will deal with most of life's difficulties. 

All that is left on my challenge pile is Margaret Atwood's 'The Blind Assassin', which I may still get around to. The only one I ditched was 'The Slap' by Christos Tsiolkas. I was so overwhelmed by the vast number of characters he introduced in the first few pages that I couldn't recall who was who, and there were some really awful parents who I just knew were going to irritate me. I was disappointed as I had been looking forward to the story. Already itching to get started on next year's pile, but will probably also be joining in again with the TBR Triple Dog Dare, which runs from January to April and also restricts reading to books you already have in your stack.

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