Another success for Persephone books in getting me to enjoy a genre that I wouldn't otherwise choose to read - this time, poetry.
It's hard to be hip over thirty, by Judith Viorst is an entertaining collection of poems devoted to the trials and tribulations of trying to be a grown up, inspired particularly by her experiences of marriage and motherhood.
Here is an extract from my favourite poem in the book Maybe we'll make it which really encapsulates the difficulties of living with someone. I so identified with this and its other three verses....
If I quit hoping he'll show up with flowers, and
He quits hoping I'll squeeze him an orange, and
I quit shaving my legs with his razor, and
He quits wiping his feet with my face towel, and
We avoid discussions like
Is he really smarter than I am, or simply more glib,
Maybe we'll make it
Viorst uses another poem to make the point that it is worth it. Here are some lines from Married is better:
Married is better
Than sitting on a blanket in Nantucket
Where you get blotches and a red nose instead of adorable freckles and golden brown,
Hoping that someone with whom you would not be caught dead
From September to June
Will invite you to dinner
And it is better
Than riding a double chair life up at Stowe
On your way to an expert trail and you're a beginner
Hoping the fellow for whom you are risking your life
Will invite you for dinner
And one night, when you land at Kennedy, and no one is there to meet you except your partents
And you suddenly realise you never saw the Parthenon because you were too busy looking around for a Greek god,
You suddenly realize
Married is better...
...And married is better
Than the subway plus a crosstown bus every morning,
And tuna on toasted cheese bread, no lettuce, at Schrafft's.
And a bachelor-girl apartment with burlap and foam rubber and a few droll touches like a Samurai sword in the bathroom,
And going to the movies alone.
I couldn't agree with all of these lines more; it was a message that I liked , heading towards thirty and married life myself. It's difficult learning to live with someone - I'll spare you from a catalogue of the things that my fiance does which annoy me, and the things that I do which I think must annoy him - but it's worth it.
I think the only other Persephone of poetry is Arthur Clough's Armours de voyage which I didn't get into, but having enjoyed this volume I should probably give it a go.
The funky endpaper by the way is a 1960s Liberty fabric called bangles. Unfortunately as my copy was second hand, it lacked the bookmark, so I must pick one up in the shop to match! I love to have the coloured endpapers poking out of the grey volumes.
Sarah Hall’s The Wolf Border (2015)
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