These poems first appeared in Cosmopolitan. ‘I suspect’ also appeared on Poems on the Box on BBC2.Why Dorothy Wordsworth’ is included in numerous anthologies including The Virago Book of Wicked Verse, a selection for Woman’s Hour, and in course work for A level and a poetry course for H M Prisons

                

WHY DOROTHY WORDSWORTH IS NOT AS FAMOUS AS HER BROTHER

 

"I wandered lonely as a...

They're in the top drawer, William,

Under your socks -

I wandered lonely as a -

No not that drawer, the top one.

I wandered by myself -

Well wear the ones you can find.

No, don't get overwrought my dear, I'm coming.

  

"I wandered lonely as a -

Lonely as a cloud when -

Soft-boiled egg, yes my dear,

As usual, three minutes -

As a cloud which floats -

Look, I said I'll cook it,

Just hold on will you -

All right, I'm coming.

 

"One day I was out for a walk

When I saw this flock -

It can't be too hard, it had three minutes.

Well put some butter in it. -

This host of golden daffodils

As I was out for a stroll one -

"Oh you fancy a stroll, do you?

Yes all right, William, I'm coming.

It's on the peg. Under your hat.

I'll bring my pad, shall I, in case

You want to jot something down?"

 

 

 

 

I SUSPECT

  

I suspect

There would be more poems

About sex

If it rhymed with more than

Pecks, Necks,

Erects and ejects...

This begins to sound promising.

I may write one.

 

 

 

IMMACULATE MISCONCEPTION

 

The new dress that I bought for the occasion

Ironed with care, fits so flattering at the hips

You'd think I had a waist.

My make-up, thirty-minutes worth, which

On any other day'd take thirty seconds Is immaculate.

My legs do not do justice

To these sheer seamed stockings and

What I paid for them but all the same

My mirror, who hardly ever lies, reports:

"This, baby, is as good as it gets."

The phone, who also never lies (though callers do)

Rings five minutes after I should have left

To tell me something unforeseen's cropped up.

He knows I'll understand. And

Sure enough I do. For after all,

It's not entirely unforeseen.

He's cancelled dates before

And I'm my own person, need not look to any

Special guy for entertainment.

Catching my image in the mirror (lying swine), I see

The new dress makes my shoulders seem to droop.

I think I'll take it back.

 

 

 

 

ON THE EDGE

 

We should be five at these meetings

But Bob is ill, Jill has cancelled,

Pete said he’d be late. Very late.

So now there’s me and you,

Separated only by three feet of desk

And our own uncertainty.

You tell me what’s on today’s agenda

Omitting what is really on the agenda

Which is why you lean back in your chair

As though I threaten you

Yet look at me, narrow-eyed

Through long-lashed eyes

Heavy with longing (or is it lack of sleep) 

You rock backwards on your chair

Half smiling, lick your lips. I speak.

Your head goes back,

Your Adam’s apple prominent

(I know what they say about

Men’s Adam’s apples).

Your shake your head, smiling,

Still looking.

Your skin Is blushed with gold, I never

Noticed that before.

We can smell the tension, taste it.

The air crackles and sparks

Which of us is scared the most?

The door opens.

Pete, guilty, apologetic,

Is astonished by the warmth

Of our welcome.

 

 

 

 

SINDY DOLL

 

My name is Sindy.

I’ve a pretty face,

A nice neat bosom

And a tiny waist.

My critics say I have a tiny mind

But that is quite untrue

And most unkind.

My breadth of interests

Gives the lie to that: I like to dance, to skate,

To clean my flat.

And I can ride or ski,

Do any sport I choose

If I’ve the proper dress

And hat and shoes.

And no one could be keener

To be a ballerina –

Oh you should see me up on points

Flexing my fifteen moveable joints

Or at the weekend in my caravan

Exercising them with Action Man.

 

 

 

 

HOLD ME TIGHT, HE SAID

 

"Hold me tight," he said,

And as I held him I thought

Was it three bottles or four

Of the white that I bought?

And if it was three, would that be enough

And should I get some whisky and stuff?

"Kiss me," he said,

And as I kissed him I was thinking

That if Jack was serious

About giving up drinking,

 I'd need tonics and Perrier and such

Which with the wine would come to - how much?

"Turn over", he said,

And as I turned I thought

That if the chicken went in about six then it ought

To have plenty of time, but what of the rice?

"Do that again," he said, "that's really nice."

 "Do you love me?" he said,

And as I replied I was thinking

That making love is as easy as winking.

But dinner for eight, without a doubt,

Takes a bit of thinking about.

 

 

 

 

SOME MEN

 

Some men's skin is very white

As though they only come by night.

Some men's skin is florid red

As though they blush from toe to head.

Some men's skin's obscured by hair,

They never seem to look quite bare.

Some men's skin is loose and sags

Beneath their eyes in little bags.

Some women may be equal gems

But I have never slept with thems

 

 

 

 

MICK JAGGER

 

See Mick Jagger, watch him swagger

Strutting up and down the stage.

His voice is so raunchy And he's not a bit paunchy

Which is good when you think of his age.

 

 

 

 

KISSING CYCLOPS

 

He doesn't close his eyes to kiss

And drawing near I notice this:

That two eyes merge as lovers close

Into one large, above the nose.

Our eyeballs meet, he also stops.

He doesn't want to kiss Cyclops.

We didn't click. I wonder why.

We saw so clearly eye to eye.