|Wendy Cope. Born England 1945.(www.goodreads.com)|
Some men never think of it.
You did. You’d come along
And say you’d nearly brought me flowers
But something had gone wrong.
The shop was closed. Or you had doubts —
The sort that minds like ours
Dream up incessantly. You thought
I might not want your flowers.
It made me smile and hug you then.
Now I can only smile.
But, look, the flowers you nearly brought
Have lasted all this while.
From Serious Concerns, Faber & Faber, 1992
Wendy Cope is the kind of poet whom it is easy to dismiss as lightweight or superficial but I would like to make the case that she is neither of those things. Although clothed in humour and wit, her words carry the weight of gravitas and of more serious matters. She cleverly uses the easy appeal to make a point, often about men: Men are like bloody buses-/ You wait for about a year/ And as soon as one approaches your stop/ Two or three others appear.
The poem centres around the themes of remembrance and intentions that were never carried out and there is a deep underlying sadness present. I think it is saying that the thought counts as much, or more, than the deed. The last stanza is heart-breakingly poignant.
You can watch Wendy reading this poem here