Tag Archives: relationships



The distant hills, patched dusty green and gold,

Dissolve and ripple in the evening haze,

And rivers trace a winding azure web

Through sunlit fields where lazy cattle graze.


Just here, knee deep in waving meadow grass,

The sinking sun still warm against my cheek,

A sighing ash disturbs the heavy hush.

My heart stands still. I’d swear I heard you speak.


I lie down under weeping willow boughs,

Where clouds of midges dance against the blue,

And close my eyes to ease my memory

Back to that short, hot summer spent with you.


Now interfering sight is out of mind,

My other senses exercise their skill,

Conspire against my crashed and burned-out heart

To make believe you’re lying with me still.


The feathered grass that strokes my goosebumped skin

Mimics your restless touch – a callous plot!

The gentle breeze that plays across my lips

Becomes your breath, so tender, sweet and hot.


The soothing swish of branches in the wind

Echoes your urgent whisper in my ear,

That everything you’ll ever need in life,

Is everything you have right now, right here.


But everything I gave was not enough

To tame the wayward fire of your love.

And now the chill of nightfall closes in,

While drifts of stars dust indigo above.


The distant hills, washed dusky grey and mauve,

Smudge out to shadows now, as darkness grows,

And rivers trace a glinting silver web,

Through moonlit fields where drowsy cattle doze.


While shards of your deception stab me still,

Our supernova joy explodes the pain.

And even though I sit at wisdom’s feet,

If you stood here, I’d rise, and fall again.


(C) Helen Lewis, 2004

‘How to…’ or ‘A woman’s guide to flirting’


How to send an astronaut into orbit:

            Ask him how much thrust his rocket produces.

                        Tell him he’s go for insertion.

                                    Show him you can perform a docking manoeuvre.


How to inflame a fireman:

            Ask him if you can try on his helmet.

                        Tell him you like his hose.

                                    Show him you can administer mouth-to-mouth.


How to sweet-talk a chef:

            Ask him if you can toss his salad.

                        Tell him mouth-feel is all-important.

                                    Show him how extensive your menu is.


How to hang on to a rodeo rider:

            Ask him if you can ride his bull.

                        Tell him he’s stayed on the longest.

                                    Show him how strong your inner thighs are.


How to tie a yoga instructor in knots:

            Ask him how long he can hold it.

                        Tell him you’ve studied Tantra.

                                    Show him your best wide-angled leg pose.


How to talk dirty to a health inspector:

            Ask him if he comes here often.

                        Tell him you need scrubbing down.

                                    Show him what you can do with a pair of Marigolds.


 (C) Helen Lewis, 2006

A sea change at the fish ‘n’ chip shop

 After ‘The only son at the fish ‘n’ chip shop’ by Geoff Hattersley


Before I break the news to mother

I down a couple of pints.

“Well, Gerald,” she says,

“It’s about bloody time.”


Maureen knows how to talk to the customers.

She wears high heels and red nails.

She cuts the size labels

from her regulation tabards.


Maureen’s been to Spain and Old Trafford.

While I’m carving the kebab meat,

she talks about her holiday in Turkey.

I say I don’t think I should like the heat.


Maureen scribbles poems on chip paper;

they’re not very good – they don’t even rhyme.

I tell her about my novel and she asks to read it.

I say I’ll show her when it’s finished.


She asks me to marry her

one Saturday after closing time.

We’re alone in the back room,

counting the takings.


The strip light flickers.

The fly killer buzzes

blue lightning.

I say yes.


I’m sick of the smell of chip fat

under my shirt collar,

and the oil-slick air

above the fryers.


Maureen says chip fat’s liquid gold.

“There are going to be

some changes around here

when I’m in charge,” she says.


(C) Helen Lewis 2006

Dear Derek

Dear Derek,

I should imagine I’m the last person you’d expect a letter from after the way we parted company, but I feel I owe you an explanation for my behaviour last night. As you don’t own a computer and you’re too deaf to use the phone, I was left with no option but to dust off the Basildon Bond and put pen to paper.

You see, Derek, I had something of an epiphany today. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say, that where before there was Darkness, now there is Light. Consequently, I feel the need to clear up some misapprehensions that you may have been under regarding our, for want of a better term, relationship.

I remember the night we met. I was performing my Gershwin By Candlelight set when one of the tea lights fell off the piano and set light to your toupée. Straightaway I knew you were different from the other punters. Cashmere jumper. Gold Rolex. Perfect dentures. You said you didn’t know why a young glamour puss like me would pay attention to an old duffer like you. I hope this letter will help to make that clear.

Remember the money you gave me to have a boob job? Well, I wasn’t entirely upfront, if you’ll pardon the pun, about how I spent it. A tiny fraction went on a pair of slip-in bra inserts, and I blew the rest on a fortnight in Barbados. With Todd. Or was it Brad? I forget. Anyway, that brings me to another teeny tiny confession-ette.

You know how I said that I was still a virgin and wanted to wait until our wedding night before consummating our love? Well, I haven’t been a virgin since John Major was prime minister. I could make a joke here about getting fucked when Labour got in, but I’ll resist the temptation, because I know how highly you regard ‘Our Tony’.

Last night things came to a head. I could tell by the uncharacteristic leer on your face that something was amiss, and when you whispered that you’d got hold of some Viagra, the bulge in your trousers, which I’d previously assumed was your colostomy bag slipping down again, suddenly made perfect and alarming sense to me. As fond as I am of you, Derek, you’ll have to admit you’re hardly love’s young dream, and there are some things that any self-respecting girl, even one as game as I am, just can’t bring herself to do. Which is why I left in such a hurry.

My God, I can’t believe how much better I feel for telling the truth at long last. I feel cleansed. I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me for what I did. The best thing you can do now is forget all about me, and carry on with your life (what’s left of it.)




P.S. One other thing. Desirée’s my stage name. My real name’s Dave.

© Helen Lewis, 2010

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