‘A Vow’. . . by Wendy Cope

[  # 96 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

Vows

A poem by Wendy Cope, who, in her own down-to-earth and honest style presents a non-traditional version of the marriage vows, one with greater honesty than any more conventional approach to the promises and commitments of marriage.

It may be remembered that Wendy Cope once rebuked our poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, for agreeing to write a poem to celebrate Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton.  This poem confirms her views on such matters by taking a common-sense view of the marriage vows.

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I cannot promise never to be angry;
I cannot promise always to be kind.
You know what you are taking on, my darling –
It’s only at the start that love is blind.

And yet I’m still the one you want to be with
And you’re the one for me – of that I’m sure. 
You are my closest friend, my favourite person,
The lover and the home I’ve waited for.

I cannot promise that I will deserve you
From this day on. I hope to pass that test.
I love you and I want to make you happy.
I promise I will do my very best.

By Wendy Cope 

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Wendy Cope: ‘The Uncertainty of the Poet’

[  No.68 of my favourite short poems  ]

The uncertainty which afflicts many poets concerning their right to call themselves such, is perhaps illustrated in this ‘Vimrod’ cartoon to be found on the lastlemon.com website, and further expressed in Wendy Cope’s delightful short poem, below . . .

Vimrod-I am a Poet

The indecision which afflicts so many of us, leaves us, as in the last line of Wendy Cope’s poem, still insecure, unsure of ourselves and our abilities, and certainly ‘uncertain’.  But the need to press on remains, regardless of our doubts, and that is what tells me we must have something of the poet in us.

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‘The Uncertainty of the Poet’  by  Wendy Cope

 

I am a poet.
I am very fond of bananas.

I am bananas.
I am very fond of a poet.

I am a poet of bananas.
I am very fond.

A fond poet of ‘I am, I am’ –
Very bananas.

Fond of ‘Am I bananas?
Am I?’ – a very poet.

Bananas of a poet!
Am I fond? Am I very?

Poet bananas! I am.
I am fond of a ‘very’.

I am of very fond bananas.
Am I a poet?

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Vimrod – as explained on Wikipedia:

Vimrod is a cartoon character created by Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar.  Vimrod is best known for its greetings cards, which sell worldwide in the millions, and books, which are published by Harper Collins and Andrews McMeel / Universal press Syndicate.

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Wendy Cope – ‘After the Lunch’

(No.57 of my favourite short poems)

Waterloo Bridge

After the Lunch

On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes,
the weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.

On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. you’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?

On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You’re a fool. I don’t care.
the head does its best but the heart is the boss-
I admit it before I am halfway across.

Wendy Cope

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Wendy Cope is one of the most acclaimed living comic poets writing in English.  She was raised in Kent, England and has published several volumes of poetry including Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis and Serious Concerns.  Cope possesses a remarkable talent for parody and for using humour to address serious topics.

She has a keen eye for the everyday, mundane aspects of English life, especially the desires, frustrations, hopes, confusions and emotions in intimate relationships.  Dr Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, and a poet himself, has written that: “Wendy Cope is without doubt the wittiest of contemporary English poets, and says a lot of extremely serious things”.

Notes adapted from Wikipedia and other online sources.

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Hope

(Poem No.35 of my favourite short poems)

Hope-Housemartin

Drawing in pen and ink … WHB – May 2017

HOPE

BY Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

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A delightful, short and simply expressed poem, which expands a metaphor into a delightfully positive view of the power of Hope in our lives.  It remains with us through gale and storm, demanding nothing of us.  

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The preferred use by Emily Dickinson of dashes to punctuate her verses has been, more recently, commented on light-heartedly in a short poem of Wendy Cope’s . . .

EMILY DICKINSON

Higgledy-piggledy
Emily Dickinson
Liked to use dashes
Instead of full stops

Nowadays, faced with such
Idiosyncrasy,
Critics and editors
Send for the cops.

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