I let fate take a hand and accidentally read two poems to an audience on Monday night. I work in the voluntary sector and it is common practice for a piece of paper to circulate asking for names and email addresses. So, in a cosy corner of the Puzzle Hall Inn for their Puzzle Poets Night (First Monday of the month and well worth a visit), when my friend and poet Andy Smith passed me paper and pen I did what I always do and wrote my name down. Just as I was about to write my email address I realised it was for Open Mic spots! I nearly scribbled my name out until I realised I had 2 poems in my bag as I had printed them earlier in the day. So, I performed my poem ‘In all Good Gentleman’s Outfitters’ and Family Motto, whilst trembling in front of a fabulously talented yet supportive audience. Both went down well so here is my poem ‘Family Motto.’ I would love to hear what your family mottoes are or should be?
The Family Motto or Was this Open Mic thing a good idea?
We were never a family to do things by halves.
Moderation just wasn’t our thing.
The habits that inhabit you, are our daily addictions.
We don’t react well to societal restrictions.
The occasional Valium was mum’s daily bread
Dad’s Number 6 days dawned before rising from bed.
My siblings seek solace in the bottom of a glass
My love of food spans the size of my……..
Pass the butter and spread it on my toast,
I’m sure you can guess what I love the most,
So, when deciding upon family mottoes, we all agreed,
A tripartite approach was the family creed,
One was good, but not quite sufficient,
Whereas two would be better and almost proficient,
But the magic of three was definitely unequal
So three were chosen,
The first and two sequels.
One- Never eat anything bigger than your head.
Stick to food that fits easily in it instead.
It just stands to reason, and conserves rather large mammals,
Yes, that one was agreed for the family annals.
Two- You’ve got to die of something.
And boy do we do it.
The long list of ailments and how my family blew it
Include polio and elephantiasis
I shall shuffle off one day on account of Psoriasis.
The motto exists to give us all an excuse,
For our love of the food and the fags and the juice.
Number three took more time to unearth,
as dads soft-spoken ways could so puncture the mirth,
but finally he spoke in his cancer hard whisper,
No amusement, no rhyme, no funny riposte
Straightforward advice from the dad I have lost.
CLEVER SPEAKS, WISE LISTENS
became our number three
Only here in the light on the stage in the glow
Of your gaze and attention,
It is now that I know,
and feel my own tension beginning to rise,
I may have been clever, but you have been wise.
Louella Ramsden September 2014