Sunday, 25 March 2012



(to be cut out and enclosed with donations to charities)


My bank will verify that I exist,
but please don't add me to your mailing list;
the circulars I get on every question
have made me spin with mental indigestion.


No mailings, please. It don't seem right,
whatever cause it's for,
that you should spend the widow's mite
on asking her for more.

For the charity which rang people chosen at random from the phone-book to ask for help with door-to-door collections during its Week, the money to be paid in at local banks

From the Cyrenians, maybe,
how resonantly it would speak,
this asking strangers such as me
to go the extra mile one week!
From others, though, whether or not you like it,
the cheek is what strikes most, and here I strike it.

For any charity dealing with homelessness, prison, physical or mental illness, or senile decay

It's not a gift. If my life's hit,
it's all I could afford --
I hope you will remember it,
and treat me as insured.

The above set of verses dates from the summer of 1988. From the card index, I seem to have got my money's worth out of it. It's appeared in Streetwise 63, 2006, p.22; Streetwise's predecessor St Matthew's parish magazine May-June 1988; and the book Loose change, ed. Ian Walton (Peterborough: Poetry Now, 1994). So it might as well get another outing now.

And, having blogged something I wrote nearly a quarter of a century ago, I'm eager to report the success of a new poem. And I can. 'A hand at reading' got final tinkerings before breakfast last New Year's Eve, the deadline for entry in the English Association Dickens bicentenary competition. It won third prize! Announcement here. I will blog the poem when it's had its appearance in the Association's journal English.

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