Friday, 21 May 2010

Learning to read you...

Saturday's Carol Ann Duffy poem prompted me to seek out this poem by U.A. Fanthorpe. It's about a couple who've been together for a long time but are still learning to read each other. I found it through a great anthology 101 Happy Poems edited by Wendy Cope.

7301 U.A. Fanthrope
Learning to read you, twenty years ago.
Over the pub lunch cheese-and-onion rolls.

The rest of our lives, the rest of our lives
Doing perfectly ordinary things together - riding

In buses, walking in Sainsbury's, sitting
In pubs eating cheese-and-onion rolls.

All those tomorrows. Now twenty years after.
We've had seventy-three hundred of them, and

(If your arithmatic's is right, and our luck) we may
Fairly reckon on seventy-three hundred more.

I hold them crammed in my arms, colossal crops
Of shining tomorrows that may never happen,

But may they! Still learning to read you,
To hear what it is you're saying, to master the code.


  1. Ooh, I love UA Fanthorpe - I had the great privilege of hearing her read once when she came to my sixth form, nearly a decade ago. I must get hold of a collection of her books as you've reminded me how brilliant she is.

  2. That's the great thing about school when you have amazing people visit. Do you now read her poems remembering her voice?

  3. This is lovely! What a sweet poem, we do spend our lives doing perfectly ordinary things together don't we, but they mean so much. I think I need to get a copy of 101 Happy Poems.


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