For Me

For me,
if it’s not got rockers
it’s not a chair.
It’s just a pile of sticks,
and you can pick a pile of sticks up
on the street

For me,
if there’s no flaps on the pockets
it’s not a suit.
It’s just a piece of cloth,
and you can pick a piece of cloth up
on the street.

For me,
if you can’t lock it
it’s not a briefcase,
it’s just a bit of leather,
and you can pick a bit of leather up
on the street

So here’s me,
rocking backwards and forwards on my chair,
flapping the flaps on my suit,
locking and unlocking my briefcase,
and trying to sick a splat of rhyme
on my verse to make it complete.

And you can’t fault that:
it’s neat.

Copyright: from How the Hornpipe Failed (Rivelin Grapheme, 1984), copyright © Ian McMillan 1984, used by permission of the author

More about this poem

Ian McMillan (b. 1956) is one of the UK's best known contemporary poets. Aside from many books (for adults and children), sometimes ...

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About For Me

'For Me' is about when I first started running writing workshops. It always seemed to me that half-way through the workshop, somebody would say "For me, if it doesn't rhyme, it's not a poem", and I thought, right:

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