Born Yesterday

Tightly-folded bud,
I have wished you something
None of the others would:
Not the usual stuff
About being beautiful,
Or running off a spring
Of innocence and love —
They will all wish you that,
And should it prove possible,
Well, you’re a lucky girl.

But if it shouldn’t, then
May you be ordinary;
Have, like other women,
An average of talents:
Not ugly, not good-looking,
Nothing uncustomary
To pull you off your balance,
That, unworkable itself,
Stops all the rest from working.
In fact, may you be dull —
If that is what a skilled,
Vigilant, flexible,
Unemphasised, enthralled
Catching of happiness is called.

Philip Larkin

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The Orange

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange

The size of it made us all laugh.

I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—

They got quarters and I had a half.

 

And that orange it made me so happy,

As ordinary things often do

Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park

This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

 

The rest of the day was quite easy.

I did all my jobs on my list

And enjoyed them and had some time over.

I love you. I’m glad I exist.


Wendy Cope