Sonnet of the Week: Mrs. Wordsworth Remembers

It’s 1998 and I’m attending my first Arvon course. Carol Ann Duffy is describing her forthcoming collection The World’s Wife and wondering if it should include a sonnet. Shakespeare seems the obvious choice, but just by way of encouragement I offer her this.

Paul Francis.

He’s come a long way, and it’s better now he’s Laureate. I parcel out his pills, get him his slippers, help him cope somehow with feeling jocund over daffodils. He used to pester people, make a note of every lass he met; each reaper, worse. When he was just a kid he nicked a boat and claimed it was the prelude to some verse. Embarrassment, or what? I could have died. Does your bloke mutter odes along the ridge? In London once, he wandered round wide-eyed and held up all the traffic on a bridge. It’s easy for a lad to miss the track; he’s much more tranquil these days, looking back.


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