“Iffy,” by Vicky Ellis

Apr 20th, 2013 | By | Category: Poetry

(After Kipling)

If you can hold your gas when all about you
Are venting theirs and blaming it on you
If you can sip your tea while others watch you,
But make allowance for their slurping too;
If you can hang out clothes when skies are cloudy,
Or mouth a curse but don’t say it aloud,
Or being cut up, don’t give way to Audis,
And yet don’t look too tense, nor seem too proud:

If you eat cake – and don’t make cake your master;
If you can drink – and not wake feeling shame;
If you can meet ex-husband, thief and pastor
And treat those three impostors just the same;
If you can bear to see the books you’ve borrowed
Coloured by tots to make a gift for you
Or hear the china smash and hide your sorrow,
Then, smiling, patch it up with super glue:

If you can make one list of all your virtues
And risk the smug derision from your boss
And walk back to your desk but make no issue
And not reveal the bastard’s double cross;
If you can fold your breasts and cheeks and wattle
To pack away when menopause has gone,
But brandish when you’ve lingered on the bottle
To bulge like wrinkled raisins from a scone

If you can care for Gran and keep your virtue
Or walk the flea bag, stooping for its poop,
If neither bleach nor Oxiclean can hurt you,
If thoughts of Helen Mirren make you droop;
If you can take the oestrogen transitions
And scorned your fury is second to none,
Yours are the Earth’s least lucrative positions,
And – which is more – you’ll be a lass my love.


Defenestration-Vicky EllisVicky Ellis is a prize-winning poet, storyteller, singer-songwriter, editor, and all round bundle of creativity based in Blackpool, Lancashire. She is currently working in her community offering workshops and promoting poetry performance. Her first full length storytelling project, Unconventional Attitudes, won the Spoken Word award and was nominated in the New Writing category at the Buxton Fringe Festival.

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