This is the life old Michelle lives.
This is the house that contains the life
That capable old Michelle lives.
This is the smell of a chicken stew
And today it suffuses the cosy house
Where cheerful old Michelle lives.
This is the nose that’s confronted by
The herby and chickeny smell of the stew
That fills the rather old fashioned house
Where stoical old Michelle lives.
This is the daughter who owns the nose,
The vegan nose disconcerted by
The aroma of chicken and dumpling stew
Unavoidable now in the little house
Where carnivorous old Michelle lives.
These are the values, the vegan values
Dear to the heart of the anxious daughter
Whose sensitive twenty-first century nose
Catches a whiff of that dumplingy stew
The moment she enters the terraced house
Where sardonic old Michelle lives.
This is the diet of chickpeas and kale
Inspired by the righteous and virtuous values
That give a superior air to the daughter
Whose nose (often stuck in a book by George Monbiot)
Now can’t help but inhale the succulent smells
That remind her of stews she’s enjoyed in this house
Where she and her mother Michelle lived.
This is the husband, the rat of a husband,
Who tired of a diet of chickpeas and kale,
And left for a woman of less rigid values
Than sturdy Michelle’s so high-principled daughter,
More plump in the hip, less judgemental of nose.
In their pre-vegan days how he’d wolfed chicken stew
When he’d come to this house, to the so homely home
Where kitchen-savvy Michelle lived.
These are the tears, the unstoppable tears
Daughter weeps for her husband, that fink of a husband,
For whom kale and chickpeas (and to be fair, tofu)
Were never enough. Oh, he talked about values
But was never a man who deserved Michelle’s daughter.
And the tears trickle down a nose raw and reddened
As she enters the house, and smells chickeny smells
That bring back the years she too lived in this house
Where rock-solid old Michelle lives.
This is the mother who cuddles her daughter
And takes out a hankie to wipe away tears,
She tells her don’t weep for an unworthy husband
Who wasn’t sincere about chickpeas and kale,
So never was near good enough for her daughter.
She offers a tissue for blowing her nose -
That’s when principles drift in the face of rich smells
And she knows what she needs is mum’s comfort-food stew.
Soon they’re eating together in this cosy house,
Where psychology-sharp old Michelle lives.
And this is the life old Michelle lives.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, George Simmers
would be pleased to hear them.