Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Imaginary Friends: Another Poem from 2005

Here is another poem I came across in my archive trawl. I'm pretty sure I wrote it a few years before 2005, but the only date I have to go on is 2005, when I created the file.

(I have a clear memory of writing every poem I wrote. My 2005 poems were mostly written a rented room in Stillorgan, while listening to Sgt. Pepper by the Beatles. I remember this poem being written at home, at a time I was eating lots of peanut butter straight from the jar and reading The Wheel of Time.)

This is a very Betjeman-esque poem, even mildly plagiarizing his "A Hike on the Downs". The narrator is meant to sound unpleasant, and he's not meant to be me. I'm unpleasant in different ways.

When I wrote this poem, I remember being very unsatisfied with it. Now I read it again, it's actually a lot better than most of the stuff I wrote at this time. As with many of my old poems, I regret that I avoided Irish references as much as possible, hoping that would make them more accessible to non-Irish readers. I'm also disappointed that I fell into the common mistake of using "under-par" to mean "inadequate", when it means quite the opposite in golf.

Imaginary Friends

I like to think that Anthony
Has read the works of Proust.
He seems so smart and literary.
It gives me such a boost.

I like to think Elizabeth
Conceals a heart of gold
And if she does, we can forget
Those nasty jokes she told.

I like to think that Paul and Clive
Are intellectuals
Who can’t abide the nine-to-five
And not just ne’er-do-wells.

But, in the morning, when I wake,
Before I don my myths
I realize my own mistake.
Who tumble-dried my wits

To turn such dullard into dudes?
Don’t ask, I know: myself.
But with my tea, a thought that soothes:
They’re not quite bottom-shelf.

Maybe I wince to hear their jokes
Their quips that miss the target;
At least they’re better than the blokes
Who throng the supermarket.

At least they aren’t quite as bad
As those atrocious mothers
Who rant at the last kid they had.
They don’t give me the shudders

(Except for sometimes). As for me
I could be worse by far.
If not quite what I hope to be
I’m not quite under-par.

But, ah! When day-dreams set me free
Then Anthony and Paul
And all that third-rate company
(Myself the most of all)

Become the people I deserve;
The wit and repartee!
Elizabeth has vim and verve,
Clive spontaneity.

Too much of life offends the sight
To look with naked eyes.
Who could forego the candle-light
Of fantasy and lies?


  1. I do the poetry. Can't really claim to know enough(anything at all?) to say enrolling with while, sorry

    1. Ha ha, thanks anyway! I don't think you need to "know" anything to comment on poetry, despite what we've had dinned into us for about a hundred years. It's what you like or don't like, that's all.