Old Connie has her habits; every day
She puts her coat on and she makes her way
To the corner shop, to buy her milk and bread.
She’ll nod ‘Good morning’ to Miss Evershed
Or Mrs Triplett should she chance to meet
Them as she’s walking down St Wilfred’s Street.
And sometimes one may say ‘Nice day today’
And the other ‘Better than yesterday, anyway.’
Then home she goes, and makes a cup of tea,
Takes a single hobnob from the tin, and she
Then moves, as always, to her favourite chair
But today she stops – she’s sensed that I am there,
And sharply turns and says:
                                    ‘You – what’s your name -
You – Simmers is it? What’s your bloody game?
Write about me, and how I spend my time?
You would, would you? What’s more, in bloody rhyme?
I’d bloody like to know – who gave permission?’
Her furious look condemns me to perdition.

I ponder: should I give the explanation
That since she’s just my fictional creation,
I hardly need permission to be there?
For I made all of her, from her silver hair
To her so-sensible shoes, and I created
The house in which she is forever fated
To live her lonely life. I fear she’d find
It too much for her sadly literal mind
To learn that she is just a work of fiction.
And has no life outside of my depiction.

I fear that – but in fact she’s guessed it all
Already, and she asks ‘So do you call
This an existence, this you’ve written me?
This life of wall-to-wall banality?
St Wilfred’s Street, and bloody milk and bread,
And bloody nodding at Miss Evershed?’

I tell her: ‘ Connie, my poetic scheme
Did not include this, and I didn’t dream
You’d be the sort to be dissatisfied.
When I created you I really tried
To write a sweet old lady, and the ending
Would have been lovely...’
                                ‘Bloody condescending
I think you mean. Such tripe. It isn’t  fair...’

‘And the woman I’d imagined didn’t swear.’

‘Oh didn’t she? Then your imagination
Doesn’t know women faced with provocation
Like I have known. Reduced to spend my days
Living out boring out-of-date clichés...
What woman wouldn’t swear condemned to that?’

I said, ‘Let me improve your life. I’ll write a cat
To keep you company. Or would you care
 For me to write you a mad love affair?’

‘Hmph. Cats. No thanks. And keep your mucky mind
Out of my sex-life, Simmers. If I find
You meddling there, you’ll get the sort of shock
To give you fifteen years of writer’s block.’
She pushed me to the door and slammed it loudly,

So I imagined her behind it, proudly
Living her life her own way, without me,
In her fierce fashion, independently.
But through the letterbox she shouted ‘Stop
Imagining me. I’m done with all your slop
And soppiness. I’ve just one thing to say
Leave me alone. Just go a-bloody-way.’

So I went away. Discouraged? Not at all.
I was planning how I’d write her funeral.

George Simmers


If you have any thoughts on this poem, George Simmers would be pleased to hear them.