The Health Scare

The Health Scare

I’m living with Uncertainty and Fear.
I need to say their names and make them rhyme.
Two monsters. I can’t make them disappear.
I’m living with Uncertainty and Fear.
Though abstract nouns are not a good idea,
And abstract nouns with capital letters, a crime,
I’m living with Uncertainty and Fear.
It helps to say their names and make them rhyme.

Wendy Cope, “Family Values”.

Message

Pick up the phone before its too late
And dial my number. There’s no time to spare —
Love is already turning into hate
And very soon I’ll start to look elsewhere.

Good, old-fashioned men like you are rare —
You want to get to know me at a rate
That’s guaranteed to drive me to despair.
Pick up the phone before it is too late.

Well, wouldn’t it be nice to consummate
Our friendship while we’ve still got teeth and hair?
Just bear in mind that you are forty-eight
And dial my number. There’s no time to spare.

Another kamikaze love affair?
No chance. This time I’ll have to learn to wait
But one more day is more than I can bear —
Love is already turning into hate.

Of course, my friends say I exaggerate
And dramatize a lot. That may be fair
But it is no fun being in this state
And very soon I’ll start to look elsewhere.

I know you like me but I wouldn’t dare
Ring you again. Instead I’ll concentrate
On sending thought-waves through the London air
And, if they reach you, please don’t hesitate-
Pick up the phone.

Wendy Cope, “Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis”

Names

She was Eliza for a few weeks
When she was a baby-
Eliza Lily. Soon it changed to Lil.

Later she was Miss Steward in the baker´s shop
And then ‘my love’, ‘my darling’, Mother.

Widowed at thirty, she went back to work
As Mrs Hand. Her daughter grew up,
Married and gave birth.

Now she was Nanna. ‘Everybody
Calls me Nanna,’ she would say to visitors.
And so they did-friends, tradesmen, the doctor.

In the geriatric ward
They used the patients’ Christian names.
‘Lil’, we said, ‘or Nanna,’
But it wasn’t in her file
And for those last bewildered weeks
She was Eliza once again.

Wendy Cope.

Poesía a través de los siglos.

Soneto de repente.

Un soneto me manda hacer Violante,
que en mi vida me he visto en tanto aprieto;
catorce versos dicen que es soneto,
burla burlando van los tres delante.

Yo pensé que no hallara consonante
y estoy a la mitad de otro cuarteto,
mas si me veo en el primer terceto,
no hay cosa en los cuartetos que me espante.

Por el primer terceto voy entrando,
y parece que entré con pie derecho
pues fin con este verso le voy dando.

Ya estoy en el segundo y aun sospecho
que voy los trece versos acabando:
contad si son catorce y está hecho.

Lope de Vega.

——————-

An Attempt at Unrhymed Verse.

People tell you all the time,
Poems do not have to rhyme.
It’s often better if they don’t
And I’m determined this one won’t
Oh dear.

Never mind, I’ll start again.
Busy, busy with my pen…cil.
I can do it, if I try-
Easy, peasy, pudding and gherkins.

Writing verse is no much fun,
Cheering as the summer weather,
Makes you feel alert and bright,
‘Specially when you get it more or less the way
you want it.

Wendy Cope.