Poetic Justice

I stole the first one when I was still at school.

Nervous, waited till it was quiet,

a little haiku no one would notice

slipped into the pocket.

The thrill was overwhelming.

I needed to take another.

This time I was more ambitious;

I chose one we’d done in English:

Stealing by Carol Ann Duffy

because I liked the irony.

I don’t think she even noticed it was gone.

I felt the words trickle over my hands

Like lemonade from stolen fruit

Wonderful, contraband words.

I bathed in them

I drank them.

I almost got caught when I went

to take that Armitage one

and after that I stopped for a bit

but gradually the old feelings came back.

I found myself sneaking out at lunch

to pilfer a Jackie Kay or a John Agard;

returning to my desk, full of my secret,
stolen words

Dem Tell Me

scrunched up in my pocket.

But it wasn’t enough.

I wanted more.

I couldn’t sleep
for thinking about them.

All of those words waiting for me

They called to me

I needed them.

I lost control

I took every poem I found

And even then I didn’t stop;
Morphemes became my morphine.

I started taking other words;

From manuals or newspapers

Or government reports.

That’s when they caught me.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

was lost for words

When they found me,

Speech concealed in my bag.

I’m better now.

I only take the words I need.

I don’t

I can’t

I never


One thought on “Poetic Justice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s