Wendy Cope

Poems featured on The Gladdest Thing

The Orange

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.

— Wendy CopeĀ 

end

The New Regime

Yes, I agree. We’ll pull ourselves together.
We eat too much. We’re always getting pissed.
It’s not a bad idea to find out whether
We like each other sober. Let’s resist.
I’ve got the Perrier and the carrot-grater,
I’ll look on a Scotch or a pudding as a crime.
We all have to be sensible sooner or later
But don’t let’s be sensible all the time.

No more thinking about a second bottle
And saying “What the hell?” and giving in.
Tomorrow I’ll be jogging at full throttle
To make myself successful, rich and thin.
A healthy life’s a great rejuvenator
But, God, it’s going to be an uphill climb.
We all have to be sensible sooner or later
But don’t let’s be sensible all the time.

The conversation won’t be half as trivial—
You’ll hold forth on the issues of the day—
And, when our evenings aren’t quite so convivial,
You’ll start remembering the things I say.
Oh, see if you can catch the eye of the waiter
And order me a double vodka and lime.
We all have to be sensible sooner or later
But I refuse to be sensible all the time.

— Wendy Cope

end

Valentine

My heart has made its mind up
And I’m afraid it’s you.
Whatever you’ve got lined up,
My heart has made its mind up
And if you can’t be signed up
This year, next year will do.
My heart has made its mind up
And I’m afraid it’s you.

— Wendy Cope

end

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

end

Giving Up Smoking

There’s not a Shakespeare sonnet
Or a Beethoven quartet
That’s easier to like than you
Or harder to forget.

You think that sounds extravagant?
I haven’t finished yet —
I like you more than I would like
To have a cigarette.

— Wendy Cope

end
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