Why women poets should never bring a pen and paper to bed

I performed the following poem at a poetry slam which I turned up to without knowing the rules of poetry slams: you have to have more than one poem in case you get through more than one round. (Dur! Loser!) They laughed at the poem when I performed it, but bearing in mind that it was all I had to offer, I had to be thrown out after Round 1 anyway. Sigh. That was a hundred quid I could have won.

Anyway, hope you enjoy my tale of Doreen and Jack and the way Doreen's passion for art intrudes somewhat into other passions ... I suppose it's a tale about poetus interruptus.

Doreen was a poet, a wannabe writer
Whose husband had just upped and left her, the blighter.
He’d said, at the door, where he stood with the cases,
‘You kept making rhymes in the most awkward places.
You kept making rhymes
At inappropriate times
Like that moment in bed
When – mid-you-know – you said,
That’s it, Jack, oh yes!
And I thought it was passion
But you were thinking of rhymes
And it mucked up my scansion.

Doreen wasn’t sure if she would really miss him.
She’d much rather run up a lyric than kiss him.
She loved to write sonnets, but not about Hubby.
He was not a good Muse; he was too bald and tubby.
He’d said, ‘I’d still like you
If it weren’t for the haiku
You write while we’re just
At the height of our lust.’
(She did not say, A haiku?!
I was hoping for more,
But a haiku was all that
You gave me time for

Doreen watched him go, then she fixed herself salad
Which she ate with a fork while she toyed with a ballad,
But somehow she just couldn’t get that inspired
So she stopped at line three and presumed she was tired.
She sat in reflection:
I’ve had lots of rejection.
Fifty-three to this day,
So … does Jack feel this way?
Be it narrative or epic
Or just free verse – it’s tough
When again and again
They reject all my stuff.

Doreen felt a pang – So, his skills as a mate
Weren’t like Clooney’s, but – her villanelles weren’t that great!
Was she right to have murmured, ‘Oh, Jack, I love rhyming.’
No wonder he’d had a few problems with timing ...
Then a voice came … ‘Doreen,
How desolate I have been.
I have wander’d o’er streets.
Now I'm here. At your feet. Feets.'
He had gone all poetic
In his grief and despair!
It was crass. And pathetic.
But did Doreen care?

Just for once, just for once, he had timed things just right.
‘How I love thee!’ he cried. It was false. It was shite.
But she fell in his arms – said, ‘Jack, make me your Muse!
Shall we make love, my sweet? Or write poems? You choose
This was not very wise.
Doreen got a surprise
When he left her arms then
To fetch paper and pen …

It was only months later
And out came ‘Volume Three’.
Doreen muttered, ‘He always was
Quicker than me.'


  1. Fran

    I had a real chuckle, reading this, and it's always good to read poetry that induces laughter.

    Poetry is an odd one though isn't it? Often likely to receive muted response, due to the personal nature of the content perhaps?

    I'm a big fan of Milligan's humourous work, but I'm not always so comfortable with his serious stuff. Perhaps Miss has an explanation?

  2. A versifier as well as a writer, you should have got a prize anyway.
    Is this in any way autobiographical?
    There can be no shortage of laughter in your house.

  3. I will be reading this aloud at a party tonight. I'm pretty sure I'll have people spilling their drinks. Excellent.

  4. I don't know Spike Milligan's serious poetry, Martin, but I suspect it was quite painful - he suffered with depression really badly, didn't he? Glad I made you laugh.

  5. Of course it's autobiographical, Friko ..... I too am a wannabe poet ...

  6. Bruce - I'm glad you liked it enough to share it with people. Go ahead, but when they spill their drinks, if you could hand out some clear-up serviettes with my blog address printed on, that would be great ...

  7. I'm stunned. It's been a while since I've read poetry of this magnitude. My favorite line is

    Now I'm here. At your feet. Feets.'

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

  8. That's such a nice comment, Mark. My little poet heart is touched.

  9. Great job! Love the ending. I've never heard of "poetry slams" before. It sounds a little violent. Is there pushing and shoving involved? Any clips on YouTube?

  10. This was fantastic Fran! I see you managed to include our boyfriend George....

  11. Hi Lesley - not sure why they're called slams. I think it's because it's pretty fast and furious ... you perform, they chuck some out, you perform some more (that is, if you brought more than one poem ...), they chuck more out, you perform more, etc etc, until the winner emerges, triumphant, with his/her one hundred pounds (sob ...) And YouTube? I'm sure there are some poetry slams, but not the one I was at. I mean, I HOPE NOT.

  12. Amanda - I'm just hoping that one day Clooney will google himself, find the most references on my blog, and then he'll call. Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney, Clooney.

  13. I love your blog - I never quite know what to expect and it is always a nice surprise!

    Kate x

  14. Thanks, Kate. I never know what's going to appear either! It just depends how the mood takes me.

  15. Here's why you didn't win quid,
    For the great lines you did:

    They were judged in haste,
    By people with little taste.

    Ya coulda, woulda, shoulda, won!

  16. Count, you're a real gem
    Your comments - I love them!

  17. Hey, I think it's really cool that you're doing poetry slams. If I didn't live so far away I'd come and check it out.

  18. Mark, 'doing poetry slams' is pushing it a bit. Since this one, and seeing the quality of the other contestants' performances, I have a lot of practice to do before attempting another. Even if your poems are OK, you have to learn them, and perform them in really original ways if you want to win. I've done other performances, but not as part of a competition.

  19. Fran, you're too much.

  20. Fran, I don't know about the slam thing but it sure is a slam dunk.If i could ever make that many rhymes, iwould question my spbriety,lol


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