BOOKS / Contemporary Poets: 14 Wendy Cope

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The Independent Culture
Wendy Cope worked as a teacher in South London before achieving popular success with Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, a debut followed this year with Serious Concerns. Her metrical skills, parodies and pastiches have prompted comparisons with John Betjeman, but not all her verse is light. The disappointments of love make up one of her constant themes, the disappointments of poets and poetry another.


This morning we saw sheepskin rugs

Outside the craft shop in the village.

Now we've found one on the hillside,

Soft and creamy-white among the thistles,

Cushioning a rib-cage and a line

Of vertebrae, laid out like stepping-stones.

Nine feet away, the skull

And jawbone, clean as carved ivory.

Crows and maggots cleared off long ago -

The person with the notebook has arrived.

(Photograph omitted)