Apr '14 30

Rain. Photo by Robert Rath from Robert's website.

Last night I was reading Carol Ann Duffy's wonderful poetry collection The World's Wife, which features fabulously entertaining poems from the perspectives of the women behind famous mythological and historic male figures such as Herod, Midas, Quasimodo, Medusa and many others.

Today's poem is modelled on that idea and her style. Say hello to Mrs Noah.

Mrs Noah

Well he heard those voices and I thought,
here we go again,
so he gets to work carving an ark
and in fairness the weather changed: dark clouds gathered;
at first there was a light drizzle
but then the heavens opened and
down it poured,
and with himself hammering and sawing away out in the yard
it was nice to settle in by the fire
with a few glasses of shiraz
and Hello! and Who Weekly;
God knows I was happy enough to catch up on the gossip
and have a little rest from the daily prophecies
and the heavy-duty theological debates.

Fair play to him; he finished the three-storey monstrosity
and managed to round up two of every living thing
and when it came to boarding,
God! what a military operation.
Two by two they clambered and skittered
and galloped and flippered their way up the gangway,
all of them looking as stunned as myself.

There was no broadband, of course,
no wifi, no mobile signal.
I'm no Stepford wife
but I know how Walter's wife in 'Breaking Bad' must have felt:
it's too bloody late to get off this train now,
better just settle in for the ride.

The stench of shit was goddamn awful:
the goats and kangaroos
dropped mini turd bombs everywhere
and I could've abseiled down
the elephants’ mountains of steaming dung.

Let me tell you, as if the stink wasn't enough
I nearly went insane with the noise,
what with the galahs yabbering and the lions roaring and the wolves howling and the bulls bellowing and the hyenas laughing and the monkeys chattering…
…well, you get my drift.

And then he had the gall to complain
that we weren't having enough sex!
that we needed to procreate!
He didn’t seem to notice
that we were already
fairly rocking and rolling
in a wooden piece of flotsam
in an unprecedented deluge:
not exactly conducive to the ole horizontal jiggy-jiggy he had in mind.

Would you really want your child born in a floating zoo?
I asked him
but he just looked at me as if to say
'You know nothing, Mrs Noah, you know nothing'.

By then I was making serious inroads
into the stash of wine on board
and so was he;
there was still no sign of the dove he'd sent out,
(I silently wished it luck),
he was a bit long in the tooth
to have taken on a project of this size;
had he gone a tad overboard?

The last (damp) straw for me was
when the two giraffes threw up all over the floor,
not to mention the pandemonium that ensued
when the buffalo tried to mess with the bison's mate.

I told him that as soon as we got off this floating hellhole,
as soon as I set my size five on dry land
I'd be leaving him and his menagerie for good
but he pleaded with me, yes he did, in that
'I'm going to convert you' way of his,
and I said no, I'm not changing my mind, no, no,
and then he took me in his animal husbandry arms
and I said ah, no, no, don't be doing that, no, no,
and then he kissed me oh so tenderly,
and I said ah no, no, no, ah no
and he whispered mad secret things in my ear
and I could feel my flood of desire for him rising
as I said ah, no, no ah no ah ah, Noah, Noah, Noah!

Posted by Jennifer Liston

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  1. Michael Hopkins says:

    *Builds to a great climax! Were you thinking of Russell Crowe as you wrote this Jen?

  2. Jen says:

    *Hurrah! No I wasn't Mike! I haven't seen the Noah movie, and why would I be thinking of RC when I've my own Robert 'Noah' Rath at home?! ;-)

  3. Robert says:

    *Ah the women who keep us all sane and functional. It seems some things never change. :-) xo

  4. Jen says:

    *Robert: women?!?!?!?! ;-) xoxo

  5. Alexis says:

    *What a fab site and series. I'm only sorry I wasn't following you all month. Hope to see you again next year. Alexis

  6. Jen says:

    *Hey thank you Alexis; thanks so much for dropping by and commenting. I'm sorry too that I didn't come across your site until now. Definitely see you next year (do you write online anywhere else?)

  7. Shuku says:

    *Your poems are so lovely. I wish I could write like that; my efforts over the last 30 days haven't been stellar but I've...written? Wish I'd found you earlier too - I just got here last day of NaPoWriMo but I've got archives to go through so that's all to the good, more excellent things to read!

    You rock. :-) I love the imagery. And the wit. And the attention to detail, that makes me sit up and take notice.

  8. Jen says:

    *Why thank you so much, Shuku. It's quite a challenge, isn't it, to come up with something new and fresh every day for 30 days? I will visit your blog shortly, but in the meantime, thank you again so much for your lovely and considered feedback.


  9. Shuku says:

    *I absolutely agree re: fresh and new for 30 days. Though it's easier for me than NaNoWriMo, which I did last year - I think I stressed myself into a tizzy trying to finish the wretched thing! The poetry though, this is something new. I've never really thought of myself as 'being able to write', although I do write pastiches on Nero Wolfe themes over on Tumblr.

  10. Louise says:

    *Eat your heart out Carol Ann Duffy. Love it Jen! As I was reading it I was thinking "How the hell is she going to end this?" (it's one of those poems that could on forever - Mr and Mrs Noah firing witty barbs at one another!) Should have realized you'd end it with a bang. (No shattering into a million little body parts though I notice - Mr Noah not a single shade of Grey then?!) xx

  11. Jen says:

    *Hahaha Louise, you know, I didn't think of that! I could have done the shattering thing, but obviously my subconsious was busy raising its eyebrows and inspiring the build-up! ;-) xo

  12. Patrick says:

    *This was so fun. I got so caught up in her point of view that I had to go back after for my usual noticing of how all the fun happened. It was how emphatically you delivered her character at the beginning of the poem. Right away I liked her. I was on her side. The stanza about shit has the feeling of a haiku if you combine the second and third lines and the fourth and fifth lines. The ah nos melding into saying his name at the end took me by surprise. I think normally I see things like this coming, but I was just so caught up in the story. Silly me I noticed that the last three stanzas form the profile of the head of that old game Mr Machine. Have an awesome day:)

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