Poem of the week – Pessimism for Beginners by Sophie Hannah

sophie hannahThis weeks poem is from Sophie Hannah. Sophie has published five bestselling collections and this poem is taken from the collection; Selected Poems, published 2006. I think we all have a pessimist in our lives and this made me giggle. This one’s for you Mum!

Pessimism for Beginners

When you're waiting for someone to email,
When you're waiting for someone to call - 
Young or old, gay or straight, male or female - 
Don't assume that they're busy, that's all. 

Don't conclude that their letter went missing
Or they must be away for a while;
Think instead that they're cursing and hissing - 
They've decided you're venal and vile,

That your eyes should be pecked out by an eagle.
Oh to bash in your head with a stone!
But since this is fairly illegal
They've no choice but to leave you alone. 

Be they friend, parent, sibling or lover
Or your most stalwart colleague at work,
Don't pursue them. You'll only discover
That your once-irresistible quirk

Is no longer appealing. Far from it. 
Everything you are and you do
Makes them spatter their basin with vomit.
They loathe Hitler and herpes and you. 

Once you take this on board, life gets better. 
You give no one your hopes to destroy. 
The most cursory phone call or letter
Makes you pickle your heart in pure joy. 

It's so different from what you expected!
They do not want to gouge out your eyes!
You feel neither abused nor rejected - 
What a stunning and perfect surprise. 

This approach I'm endorsing will net you
A small portion of boundless delight. 
Keep believing the world's out to get you.
Now and then you might not be proved right.