Wendy Cope's Poetry

I read an awful lot of Wendy Cope poetry before I met Chris and became "smug married"!! Her sentiments really appealed to me. Then Chris and I went to an event where she was reading her poems. I was very surprised that she didn't read any of her most famous poems: Bloody Men are Like Bloody Buses, Another Unfortunate Choice and the wonderful Rondeau Redoubl√©. After the reading she was signing books and chatting, so I took the opportunity to ask her why none of these poems about unhappy relationships had found their way into the evening. She blushed slightly, nodded at the man sitting next to her and said that now she is happily married she  doesn't want to remember how she felt before!

So, when I spotted one of her recent poems Being Boring I was reminded of her comments and the contrast between her two types of poetry: her pre-married phase and her post-married phase.

Here is Rondeau Redoublé (pre-married):

There are so many kinds of awful men —
One can’t avoid them all. She often said
She’d never make the same mistake again:
She always made a new mistake instead.

The chinless type who made her feel ill-bred;
The practised charmer, less than charming when
He talked about the wife and kids and fled —
There are so many kinds of awful men.

The half-crazed hippy, deeply into Zen,
Whose cryptic homilies she came to dread;
The fervent youth who worshipped Tony Benn —
‘One can’t avoid them all,’ she often said.

The ageing banker, rich and overfed,
Who held forth on the dollar and the yen —
Though there were many more mistakes ahead,
She’d never make the same mistake again.

The budding poet, scribbling in his den
Odes not to her but to his pussy, Fred;
The drunk who fell asleep at nine or ten —
She always made a new mistake instead.

 And next, Being Boring (post-married):

If you ask me 'What's new?', I have nothing to say
Except that the garden is growing.
I had a slight cold but it's better today.
I'm content with the way things are going.
Yes, he is the same as he usually is,
Still eating and sleeping and snoring.
I get on with my work. He gets on with his.
I know this is all very boring.

There was drama enough in my turbulent past:
Tears and passion - I've used up a tankful.
No news is good news, and long may it last.
If nothing much happens, I'm thankful.
A happier cabbage you never did see,
My vegetable spirits are soaring.
If you're after excitement, steer well clear of me.
I want to go on being boring.

I don't go to parties. Well, what are they for,
If you don't need to find a new lover?
You drink and you listen and drink a bit more
And you take the next day to recover.
Someone to stay home with was all my desire
And, now that I've found a safe mooring,
I've just one ambition in life: I aspire
To go on and on being boring.

She is such a wonderful poet, in both phases of her life, and a poet to whom I completely relate.