One fine May morning, Ian McMillan came into the Radio 3 (classical music) Breakfast studio and announced to listeners that they could collaborate to produce a poem. He had written the first line; a friend had contributed the second. Listeners hit their e-mail and before long the following poem had been produced, each line by a different hand:


The Poem


I pull the curtains wide and feel the morning on my face 

Then stumble down the stairs to make the tea. 

The gush, the steam, the click, the clink, the ritual gathers pace… 

The phone rings, and it’s you, it’s you! I hear you telling me 

You are outside, but I’m not washed or dressed. 

I pressed the buzzer, shut my eyes and you can guess the rest…


Two pentameters repose tellingly among otherwise undistinguished shuckings in this homely basket. I easily resisted the temptation to contribute at the time but later fell to wondering how in an alternative one might incorporate the presenter’s delightful name.


The following retains in part the origin of the first two lines; but these too, I felt, could not be left to float away into kindly oblivion, to become lagan for historians of the ephemeral:



Lines for Sara Mohr-Pietsch on Radio 3’s Breakfast show.



The blinds have slashed the morning on my face

and laced the boiling water with hot tea.

I know your summer punch is gathering pace ─

the angels bear the news from you to me.

I hear the mermaids singing, each to each:

Dear Sara, Try less fenugreek, more peach.



29th May 2009