My Christmas…

Mrs Brown went to town and bought…

diamond encrusted collars for the Westies,

boxer shorts,

avocado pears,


a copy of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,

oil based paints,

an octopus,

a hairbrush,

a spring-loaded pellet gun,

an Indian headdress,

an 8oz fillet giraffe steak,

a forgery of van Gogh’s Sunflowers,

fungal cream for athlete’s foot,

a bottle of Gaviscon,

‘Gorilla’ lubrication for him & for her,

a pair of pink knickers adorned with a red feather,

a ping-pong bat,

a Christmas tree,

6 Cristal champagne glasses,

a Singer sewing machine,

a jet-hose,

a Pansy filled window box,

a red bow tie,

and a shopping trolley…

Left-Wife Goose by Sharon Olds


Winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2012 and the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, Sharon Olds’ sequence of poems in Stag’s Leap, tells the story of a divorce, embracing strands of love, sex, sorrow, memory and new freedom.

“America’s greatest living poet” The Guardian

Hoddley, Poddley, Puddles and Fogs,
Cats are to Marry the Poodle Dogs;
Cats in Blue Jackets and Dogs in Red Hats,
What Will Become of the Mice and Rats?
Had a trust fund, had a thief in,
Had a husband, could not keep him.
Fiddle-Dee-Dee, Fiddle-Dee-Dee,
The Fly Has Left the Humble-Bee.
They Went to the Court, and Unmarried Was She:
The Fly Has Left the Humble-Bee.
Had a sow twin, had a reap twin,
Had a husband, could not keep him.
In Marble Halls as White as Milk,
Lined with a Skin as Soft as Silk,
Within a Fountain Crystal-Clear,
A Golden Apple Doth Appear.
No Doors There Are to This Stronghold
Yet Robbers Break In and Steal the Gold.
Had an egg cow, had a cream hen,
Had a husband, could not keep him.
Formed Long Ago, Yet Made Today,
Employed While Others Sleep;
What Few Would Like to Give Away,
Nor Any Wish to Keep.
Had a nap man, had a neap man,
Had a flood man, could not keep him.
Ickle, Ockle, Blue Bockle,
Fishes in the Sea.
If You Want a Left Wife,
Please Choose Me.
Had a safe of 4X sheepskin,
Had a brook brother, could not keep him.
Inter, Mitzy, Titzy, Tool,
Ira, Dura, Dominee,
Oker, Poker, Dominocker,
Out Goes Me.
Had a lamb, slung in keepskin,
Had some ewe-milk, in it seethed him.
There Was an Old Woman Called Nothing-at-All,
Who Lived in a Dwelling Exceedingly Small;
A Man Stretched His Mouth to the Utmost Extent,
And Down at One Gulp House and Old Woman Went.
Had a rich pen, had a cheap pen,
Had a husband, could not keep him.
Put him in this nursery shell,
And here you keep him very well.

Within Reach

What is my life,

by which I seek accord?

My dysfunction the result,

of opinions squatting, uninvited.

My unseen mate,

anonymous in his visibility.

A bond forged,

an unbroken potential,

of another who sees me

as he sees himself.

Torn open by my longing

of his unfeeling touch.

Knowing me,

as I know myself.

To share the love

we both kept distant,

now within reach.

Leap of Faith

Your dreams filled my mind,

replacing logic

with a desire

to escape from the drudgery

of a dog-eared life.



in its offering.

A one-sided expectation,

to leap into the arms,

of not even a promise.

Abundant willingness,

tethered to the reality of experience;

the scars of my healed past,

rightly lighting my way.

Both of us deaf,

to the pulse and beat of the other.

Judged by tone and geography

rather than the sensory magic

of meeting in the flesh.