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You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly -- U A Fanthorpe

Guest poem submitted by Vikram Doctor, as part of his
theme "Poems at Work":
(Poem #541) You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly
 You feel adequate to the demands of this position?
 What qualities do you feel you
 Personally have to offer?

 Let us consider your application form.
 Your qualifications, though impressive, are
 Not, we must admit, precisely what
 We had in mind. Would you care
 To defend their relevance?

 Now your age. Perhaps you feel able
 To make your own comment about that,
 Too? We are conscious ourselves
 Of the need for a candidate with precisely
 The right degree of immaturity.
                                        So glad we agree.

 And now a delicate matter: your looks.
 You do appreciate this work involves
 Contact with the actual public? Might they,
 Perhaps, find your appearance
                                        Quite so.

 And your accent. That is the way
 You have always spoken, is it? What
 Of your education? We mean, of course,
 Where were you educated?
                                And how
 Much of a handicap is that to you,
 Would you say?

                Married, children,
 We see. The usual dubious
 Desire to perpetuate what had better
 Not have happened at all. We do not
 Ask what domestic desires shimmer
 Behind that vaguely unsuitable address.

 And you were born--?
                                        Yes. Pity.

 So glad we agree.
-- U A Fanthorpe
Nothing much to add on this, except it made me laugh out loud when I read it in
the Oxford Book of Work. I love the image it conjures up of a malign interviewer
peering down in disgust at the unfortunate interviewee. I've been there too...


39 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

The Happy Reaper said...

I have troubles with the voice in this one. I feel that the hyperbole applied to the dialogue (which, quite apart from being 'everything' in prose, is literally everything here) goes too far, and renders the narrator implausibly harsh and pompous. There is also, as with many of Fanthorpe's weaker poems (in my opinion, the vast majority), a barely controlled sense of indignance on the part of the poem, which feels sufficiently contrived to render it mildly embarressing.

Peter Carter

Elizabeth Cooper said...

It is not the poet simply trying to depict a cruel dickensian employer-
he is judging himself; society- questioning how we judge ourselves
and each other!

Abi green said...

hi, you don't know me but i feel the comment you left for the poem 'you will be hearing from us shortly' was very to the point, you also tweeking on the fact that U.A.Fanthorpe is trying to convey a very significant message accross. i do not feel this is a weak poem at all, and the comment left justified this. thankyou.

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Fanthorpe was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was made CBE in 2001 for services to poetry. In 2003 she received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

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Poetry is a gateway to the soul as a river of inspiration from the mind. We should pay more attention on the context rather than the letters spelled wrong..there is always a point in literature.

Anonymous said...

Well, my mama always said, if you've nothing nice to say...

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I think that Fanthorpe was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was made CBE in 2001 for services to poetry. In 2003 she received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry....really nice...:)

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