I had an email from a dear friend, in which she asked me what was new in my life. And the answer was: not much. Life here plods on and nothing much happens. For a while I wondered if this was a problem, if I should be chafing, but actually, I’m not. And then I remembered a poem by one of my favourite poets, Wendy Cope, which seemed to be an absolutely perfect description of my state of mind.
If you ask me ‘What’s new?’, I have nothing to say
Except that the garden is growing.
I had a slight cold but it’s better today.
I’m content with the way things are going.
Yes, he is the same as he usually is,
Still eating and sleeping and snoring.
I get on with my work. He gets on with his.
I know this is all very boring.
There was drama enough in my turbulent past:
Tears and passion – I’ve used up a tankful.
No news is good news, and long may it last,
If nothing much happens, I’m thankful.
A happier cabbage you never did see,
My vegetable spirits are soaring.
If you’re after excitement, steer well clear of me.
I want to go on being boring.
I don’t go to parties. Well, what are they for,
If you don’t need to find a new lover?
You drink and you listen and drink a bit more
And you take the next day to recover.
Someone to stay home with was all my desire
And, now that I’ve found a safe mooring,
I’ve just one ambition in life: I aspire
To go on and on being boring.
Some people are very sniffy about Wendy Cope, because her poems are a) accessible and b) often funny, (as though humour was incompatible with poetry) but knickers to them – she still manages to deal with the big subjects and does so with verve. (Although like a lot of poets, she is not at all good at reading her work aloud – I saw her at Hay and although she was witty and engaging and interesting, she read her work very stiltedly. I wished more poets did what the late UA Fanthorpe did, and got someone else to read for her.) So I think this happy cabbage will go and dig out my copies of her books and make a cup of tea. Not the most thrilling way to spend an afternoon, but then, I don’t aspire to thrills.