by Kingsley Amis
Between the Gardening and the Cookery
Comes the brief Poetry shelf;
By the Nonesuch Donne, a thin anthology
Critical, and with nothing else to do,
I scan the Contents page,
Relieved to find the names are mostly new;
No one my age.
Like all strangers, they divide by sex:
Landscape Near Parma
Interests a man, so does The Double Vortex,
So does Rilke and Buddha.
"I travel, you see", "I think" and "I can read"
These titles seem to say;
But I Remember You, Love is my Creed,
Poem for J.,
The ladies' choice, discountenance my patter
For several seconds;
From somewhere in this (as in any) matter
A moral beckons.
Should poets bicycle-pump the human heart
Or squash it flat?
Man's love is of man's life a thing apart;
Girls aren't like that.
We men have got love well weighed up; our stuff
Can get by without it.
Women don't seem to think that's good enough;
They write about it.
And the awful way their poems lay them open
Just doesn't strike them.
Women are really much nicer than men:
No wonder we like them.
Deciding this, we can forget those times
We stayed up half the night
Chock-full of love, crammed with bright thoughts, names, rhymes,
And couldn't write.
Last updated January 14, 2019