The Third Wife

by Mike Barlow

My first wife knew no more than me, no telling
where her needs ended, mine began. One day though
I turned the hill to find the boat moored in the field,
the house out in the bay, adrift, door open wide.
I rowed out to a message on the mat: gone
to my cousin’s place in Valparaiso.

My second wife blew ashore in a force ten
leading a shipload of apprentices astray
with her white dress, her turned-up Nordic nose,
her precious bible clutched in a manicure hand.
No matter how I pumped, the organ of her heart played flat,
her painted smile as wooden as a figurehead’s.

My third wife won’t say where she lives.
She comes to me when the tides are right,
stays longer if a wind’s got up or fog’s come down.
I stroke the warm loaves of her biceps, kiss
dimpled elbows, listen for the souch
our breathing makes when we’re together.

She has cousins everywhere. They post her money
in denominations the local shop won’t take
or drop by uninvited while we’re having tea. They push me
into corners, whisper her address. I turn a deaf ear.
This is my third wife I explain, who’s known
many husbands, some worse some better than me.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

More about the Poetry Society…

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Want feedback on your poems? We're booking now for 1-1 sessions with the brilliant @JudyBrown__ at @PoetrySociety Poetry Cafe... You can book for EITHER MONDAY 1 April OR MONDAY 29 April Have a look-see! poetrysociety.org.uk/poetry-society…

test Twitter Media - Want feedback on your poems? We're booking now for 1-1 sessions with the brilliant @JudyBrown__ at @PoetrySociety Poetry Cafe... 

You can book for 

EITHER 

MONDAY 1 April 

OR 

MONDAY 29 April

Have a look-see! 

https://t.co/JuiKcPhN8t https://t.co/E6WUofcGZN
test Twitter Media - Want feedback on your poems? We're booking now for 1-1 sessions with the brilliant @JudyBrown__ at @PoetrySociety Poetry Cafe... 

You can book for 

EITHER 

MONDAY 1 April 

OR 

MONDAY 29 April

Have a look-see! 

https://t.co/JuiKcPhN8t https://t.co/E6WUofcGZN

Poets. I’m one of the judges for the London Library emerging writers program. If you’ve yet to publish a full collection you’re eligible. Do consider applying Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Listen to the Poets v Homelessness issue of A Poem A Week Podcast produced by Lizzy Turner (@apoemaweek): Shelly Harder reads their poem Zero Dawn. soundcloud.com/apoemaweek/ep5… You can see both Shelly and Lizzy performing at @PoetrySociety on 7 March 7.30pm. #Podcast #Poetry #Art Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Now THIS is an exciting preview. Privileged to be performing alongside @ShellyHarder and a range of other excellent poets as part of '@PoetsVersus Homelessness' at the @PoetrySociety on 7 March - hear them read now, come to the show and buy the anthology from @TonicStaPress twitter.com/apoemaweek/sta… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

31 days to go until the 40th anniversary event for the National Poetry Competition Read the @ForwardPrizes winning poem by poet @MissLizBerry bit.ly/NPC40BerryMoth… 20th March, Kings Place bit.ly/npc40anniversa…

test Twitter Media - 31 days to go until the 40th anniversary event for the National Poetry Competition 

Read the @ForwardPrizes winning poem by poet @MissLizBerry  https://t.co/drK9cgOBBC

20th March, Kings Place https://t.co/CAyQRnXQtA https://t.co/vJcnKxClno
test Twitter Media - 31 days to go until the 40th anniversary event for the National Poetry Competition 

Read the @ForwardPrizes winning poem by poet @MissLizBerry  https://t.co/drK9cgOBBC

20th March, Kings Place https://t.co/CAyQRnXQtA https://t.co/vJcnKxClno

And those lovely folk @poetrycandle have asked me to read from TEN POEMS FOR BREAKFAST @PoetrySociety Brunch launch Sat 11.00 Covent Gdn. Retweeted by The Poetry Society

This was a fascinating, complicated, enlightening & ultimately uplifting piece to write. Poetry has always been at literature's leading edge, formally & expressively; so it goes online & in the C21 too>> Generation next:the rise– and rise– of the new poets theguardian.com/books/2019/feb… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

“Some people go to priests; others to poetry” —Virginia Woolf Retweeted by The Poetry Society

I’ll be back at the Cafe in April. Book a slot and send me your poems #writing #feedback twitter.com/PoetrySociety/… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Generation next: the rise – and rise – of the new poets theguardian.com/books/2019/feb…