Pam Ayres poems for all occasions

Here are our favourite poems from the people's poet.

pam ayres

by Sharon Reid |

Pam Ayres is a poet of the people, her humorous, clever, true-to-life observations has struck a chord and warmed our hearts since the Seventies.

At 15, she left school to work as a clerical assistant, before joining the Women’s Royal Air Force. There, she discovered a love for singing and acting, and began writing verses which she performed at a local folk club in Oxford. Pam was then invited to recite her poem ‘The Battery Hen’ on the radio, which was picked as Radio 4’s 'Pick of the Week'. Pam’s success continued to flourish from there on, as her poem was selected as BBC radio ‘Pick of the Year’ in 1974 and the following year she won a TV talent show with her poem ‘Pam Ayres and the Embarrassing Experience with the Parrot’.

Since, Pam’s gone on to perform all over the world, had nine books published and performed for Her Royal Majesty The Queen. Here are our favourite Pam Ayres poems.

They Should Have Asked My Husband

We all know a know-it-all whom this poem could be about...

You know, this world is complicated and imperfect and oppressed,

And it’s not hard to feel timid, apprehensive and depressed,

It seems that all around us, tides of questions ebb and flow,

And people want solutions, but they don’t know where to go.

Opinions abound but who is wrong and who is right?

People need a prophet, a diffuser of the light,

Someone they can turn to as the crises rage and swirl,

Someone with the remedy, the wisdom, the pearl…

With his thoughts on immigration, teenage mums, Theresa May,

The future of the monarchy, the latest Brexit shocks,

The wait for hip replacements, and the rubbish on the box.

Yes, they should have asked my husband, he can sort out any mess,

He can rejuvenate the railways, he can cure the NHS,

So any little niggle, anything you want to know,

Just run it past my husband, wind him up and let him go.

Congestion on the motorways, free holidays for thugs,

The damage to the ozone layer, refugees, drugs,

These may defeat the brain of any politician bloke,

But present it to my husband, he will solve it at a stroke.

He’ll clarify the situation, he will make it crystal clear,

You’ll feel the glazing of your eyeballs and the bending of your ear,

You may lose the will to live, you may feel your shoulders slump,

When he talks about the President, Mr. Donald Trump. *

Upon these areas he brings his intellect to shine,

In a great compelling voice that’s twice as loud as yours or mine,

I often wonder what it must be like to be so strong,

Infallible, articulate, self-confident and wrong.

When it comes to tolerance, he hasn’t got a lot,

Joy riders should be guillotined, and muggers should be shot,

The sound of his own voice becomes like music to his ears,

And he hasn’t got an inkling that he’s boring us to tears.

My friends don’t call so often, they have busy lives I know,

But it’s not every day you want to hear a windbag suck and blow,

Google? Safari? On them we never call,

Why bother with computers…when my husband knows it all.

Will I Have To Be Sexy At 60?

An ode to the joy of letting yourself go!

Will I have to be sexy at sixty?

Will I have to keep trying so hard?

Well I'm just going to slump,

With my dowager's hump

And watch myself turn into lard.

I'm not going to keep exercising,

I'm not going to take HRT,

If a toy boy enquires

I'll say, "Hah! Hard luck squire!

Where were you in 73...?"

I'm not going to shave my moustaches,

I'm just going to let them all sprout,

My chins'll be double

All covered in stubble,

I'm going to become an Old Trout!

My beauty all gone and forgotten,

Vanished with never a quibble,

I'll sit here and just

Kind of gnaw at a crust

And squint at the telly, and dribble.

As my marbles get steadily fewer,

Must I battle to keep my allure?

Have I still got to pout

Now my teeth have come out

And my husband has found pastures newer?

Farewell to the fad and the fashion,

Farewell to the young and the free!

My passion's expired,

At bedtime... I'm TIRED!

Sexy and sixty? Not me!

Yes, I'll Marry You My Dear

We adore this funny poem for an alternative reading at a wedding.

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear.

And here’s the reason why:

So I can push you out of bed

When the baby starts to cry.

And if we hear a knocking

And it’s creepy and it’s late,

I hand you the torch you see,

And you investigate.

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,

You may not apprehend it,

But when the tumble-drier goes

It’s you that has to mend it.

You have to face the neighbour

Should our labrador attack him,

And if a drunkard fondles me

It’s you that has to whack him.

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,

You’re virile and you’re lean,

My house is like a pigsty

You can help to keep it clean.

That sexy little dinner

Which you served by candlelight,

As I do chipolatas,

You can cook it every night!!!

It’s you who has to work the drill

And put up curtain track,

And when I’ve got PMT it’s you who gets the flak,

I do see great advantages,

But none of them for you,

And so before you see the light,

I DO, I DO, I DO!

Oh I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth

Because hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth,

And spotted the perils beneath,

All the toffees I chewed,

And the sweet sticky food,

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth.

I wish I'd been that much more willin'

When I had more tooth there than fillin'

To pass up gobstoppers,

From respect to me choppers

And to buy something else with me shillin'.

When I think of the lollies I licked,

And the liquorice allsorts I picked,

Sherbet dabs, big and little,

All that hard peanut brittle,

My conscience gets horribly pricked.

My Mother, she told me no end,

"If you got a tooth, you got a friend"

I was young then, and careless,

My toothbrush was hairless,

I never had much time to spend.

Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,

I flashed it about late at night,

But up-and-down brushin'

And pokin' and fussin'

Didn't seem worth the time... I could bite!

If I'd known I was paving the way,

To cavities, caps and decay,

The murder of fiIlin's

Injections and drillin's

I'd have thrown all me sherbet away.

So I lay in the old dentist's chair,

And I gaze up his nose in despair,

And his drill it do whine,

In these molars of mine,

"Two amalgum," he'll say, "for in there."

How I laughed at my Mother's false teeth,

As they foamed in the waters beneath,

But now comes the reckonin'

It's me they are beckonin'

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth.

Woodland Burial

Although not a particularly happy topic, this poem from Pam is a reminder to us all about making our wishes clear.

Don’t lay me in some gloomy churchyard shaded by a wall,

Where the dust of ancient bones has spread a dryness over all,

Lay me in some leafy loam where, sheltered from the cold,

Little seeds investigate and tender leaves unfold.

There kindly and affectionately, plant a native tree,

To grow resplendent before God and hold some part of me.

The roots will not disturb me as they wend their peaceful way,

To build the fine and bountiful, from closure and decay.

To seek their small requirements so that when their work is done,

I’ll be tall and standing strongly in the beauty of the sun.

Pam Ayres talks about finding courage

Pam Ayres is far from ready to pack up and retire. In fact, she's raring to go.

“Now I feel like rolling up my sleeves and getting cracking as time is going fast and I have to do things while I’ve still got my faculties.”

But wherever she is, she's usually found with a pen in her hand.

“Everyday things inspire me to write poems. I’m in the middle of one called Pitiful, which is about the fact my husband, although marvellous in many respects, is not very good at DIY. And we recently had a bit of an incident where he was a hanging a picture and managed to chop the ear off a lovely sculpture of a horse. So I wrote about that as I was mad about the whole thing."

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These funny little moments brought to life with witty words are what Pam’s come to be known and loved for, but recently she has taken the risk of publishing some of her more serious poems that she’s worried about revealing before.

“I plucked up the courage to publish a poem called Woodland Burial which is about my wish to be buried in a wood, rather than in some old dusty graveyard. I didn’t know whether to publish it or not, but it’s been very well received. Many woodland burial grounds have adopted it and put it on show in their chapels, which is lovely.”

This newfound courage has even extended to her personal life as she and theatre producer husband and agent Dudley Russell, made the difficult decision to downsize from their family home where their two boys had grown up and Pam kept a menagerie of cattle, sheep and bees, to a house where she’s just got room for the dog and a handful of chickens.

“We moved house, which was a massive trauma as I didn’t want to go, but now I’m here I like it. I also had a bad knee from when I fell off a ski lift and had to have a knee replacement. So that was long and painful but I’m fine now and I can tap dance again,” she jokes.

But courageous moves aside, Pam's adamant that she will remain a poet of the people, true to her heart-warming sense of fun that won the public round over 40 years ago on Opportunity Knocks.

“My poetry is mainly about making people smile and I greatly value the fact I can come up with things that make people laugh. It never ceases to amaze me that audiences are so loyal and affectionate and will come out to see me, so I just want to do a good job.

“I’m very lucky because I feel in really good nick. I can go out on the stage energised and put over what I want to say with attack and a sense of fun. And I’d be sad if I couldn’t do the job anymore as it’s always been such a joy.”

And so say all of us.

Books and DVDs from Pam Ayres

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Up in the Attic

Up in the Attic
Amazon

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Released in September 2019, this book is a collection of some of the more modern poems from Pam Ayres.

Pam Ayres - The Works: The Classic Collection

Pam Ayres - The Works: The Classic Collection
Amazon

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The Works contains 120 of Pam Ayres' best-known poems, including 'The Battery Hen', 'Please Will You Take Your Children Home Before I Do Them In?', 'Sling Another Chair Leg on the Fire, Mother' and, of course, 'Oh, I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth'.

You Made Me Late Again!: My New Collection

You Made Me Late Again!: My New Collection
Amazon

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Published back in 2015, this collection contains lots of funny illustrations too!

Pam Ayres Unsupported: Live On Stage

Pam Ayres Unsupported: Live On Stage
Amazon

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Fancy watching Pam Ayres on DVD? You can watch her live show on DVD from the comfort of your sofa!

To find out when Pam is touring next contact your local theatre or visit www.pamayres.com

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