Booby Prize


What a day! The sun is so bright it’s clearly struck up a sponsorship deal with that dishwasher product, Finish. Or maybe De Beers. Anyway, someone big and shiny enough to sponsor the sun. AND it’s National Poetry Day. So that means basically that you’re in for a poem with sunny bits.

This is a poem I wrote around fifteen years ago, on a pleasant summer’s day. I need to warn you that it makes uncomfortable reading because EVERY WORD is true.

Oh Eva. You have no idea.

The sky was blue, the sun was hot,
She felt her Wonderbra would not
Be comfy in the heat,
So breezy cool in buttoned frock
She stuffed her sunbag chock-a-block
And headed for the street.


The frock was a navy blue stretchy sundress with buttons from neck to navel. This is an important detail.

This is what I looked like as I jumped on the bus. Minus the hat. And whip. And horse.

The bus went by with speedy roar,
She upped her gears from one to four
To catch that bus, oh glory!
Adrenalin in heart and head,
She galloped like a thoroughbred
When ridden by Dettori.


I like to imagine at this point that I looked marvellously lithe and lissome, charging down the pavement. In my buttoned frock sans Wonderbra. Can you see where this is going?

The bus disgorged its sweaty horde –
She leaped upon the running board
With antelope finesse,
All peered above their magazines
With eyes as big as tangerines
And focused on her dress.


“Read on, Lizzie,” as Mr Bennet would say in a heavy voice.

The passengers appeared to freeze –
She sensed a rather pleasant breeze
About her upper body,
Then saw with dreadful clarity
Her bosoms waving loose and free
Enthralling everybody.

Ealing. That is all.


Damn buttons.

She steeled her very British nerve
And swivelled slowly to observe
The driver dazed and reeling,
She tucked herself in decently,
Then said with awful dignity:
“A day return to Ealing.”

(OK, not every word is true. I bought a ticket to Putney.)

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