I Took a Notion (A Man’s View)

I took a notion once in life,
To find myself a willing wife.
A wife who’d cook and clean and mend
And to my every need attend.
I had a momentary lapse
Within my mind that she perhaps,
Might meek and mildly do the chores,
Of washing windows, drapes and floors.
Of cooking breakfast, lunch and tea
And proudly serving up to me,
Delicious fare… no hint of diet,
And while I ate she would be quiet.
Never nagging or complaining,
Or require of me explaining,
What I do or why, or when
I might be home or not, and then,
Not be upset by mere digression,
Tolerant of my indiscretion.
Always loyal, sweet and yearning,
Trusting I’d be soon returning.
Waiting by the telephone,
So full of love for me alone.
She’d leave my slippers by the bed
And fluff the pillows for my head,
And if I was in need again,
She’d dutifully not complain,
But lay herself divinely prone,
Indulging my testosterone.
And after I was duly spent,
I’d hear no words of hurt resent-
ment, as I promptly fell asleep.
Nary a word, nary a peep.
She’d look upon me with devotion…
Once in life I took a notion.

But… life is hard to understand.
Things went not quite the way I planned.
The comely woman that I chose,
Was quite inclined to thumb her nose
At all my needs and raw desires,
Not caring much to quench the fires
That plagued my loins on many a night,
But rather she preferred to fight,
To grumble, argue and complain.
She’d look upon me with disdain,
Then serve me up her special roast
Of burnt, leftover beans on toast.
And should I dare to meekly utter,
My desire for toast…with butter,
Likely I would find instead,
The food arranged upon my head,
At which point she would turn about
And slam the door on her way out,
While I, adorned in beans and crust
Would watch the long-neglected dust,
Float upwards on the draughty force,
To settle in the sticky sauce.
Bewildered, I would do my part
And pray she’d have a change of heart,
But when late home and feeling chipper,
Nowhere would I find my slipper,
Or its partner, whereupon
She’d take two pillows… leave me none.
Then with a huff and puff and sigh,
While I not sure exactly why,
She’d turn her back in firm rebuff,
Implying that she’d had enough.
We split soon after we were wed,
I hired domestic help instead.



I Took a Notion (A Woman’s View)

I took a notion in my mind,
That somewhere on this earth I’d find,
Just as in books and magazines,
A man of most substantial means.
He’d cross my path one fated day,
And never ever go astray.
He’d be good-looking, tall and slim,
From workouts at the local gym.
With clefted chin and dark brown curls,
And though the eyes of other girls
Would follow him admiringly,
His eyes would rest on only me.
I pictured him in perfect health,
With more than just a little wealth,
To buy me most expensive things,
Like Gucci bags and diamond rings.
He’d be mature and very wise
And never argue or tell lies,
But treat me with the utmost care,
Perhaps he’d be a millionaire,
And take me to the best hotels,
Where anyone who matters dwells,
To fraternize and shoot the breeze
With many fine celebrities.
I’d wear a Gucci gown that clings
With Gucci bag and diamond rings.
And underneath the pale moonrise
His love for me he’d poetize.
His touch would leave me feeling weak,
How cute the dimple in his cheek.
And never would there come a time,
When he would do white-collar crime,
Or send me out to work and toil,
For he would have huge shares in oil,
Enough indeed to buy me things,
Like Gucci bags and diamond rings.
And I’d be sure on countless nights,
To bring him sensual delights,
To make of him the happiest man
In all the world, would be my plan.
He’d look upon me with devotion…
In my mind I took a notion.

But… all those storybook romances,
Filled with charm and loving glances.
All those things that I had read
Were wrong, and what transpired instead,
Was unlike anything I’d dreamed,
Unlike the magic that I’d schemed.
And so, instead of wedded bliss,
My dreamy plans all went amiss.
Instead of all that money brings,
Like Gucci bags and diamond rings,
My washout wedded life began
And ended with the kind of man,
Who sat around in undershorts,
Unshaved, un-showered, watching sports.
For days on end he’d lounge about
And never take the garbage out,
Or vacuum, or pick up his mess,
Or feed the dog and cat unless
I lost control and screamed and bitched,
And threatened that we’d get unhitched.
And even then the lazy slob
Would not go out and get a job.
He’d smile a smarmy little smirk,
Expecting me to go to work,
To pay the bills, it wasn’t fair
That he refused to do his share,
Or lend a hand, I don’t know why,
Was he confused or was it I?
And little matter that I wept,
His promises were never kept.
He swore as sure as grass is green,
He’d always treat me like a queen.
He said his eyes would never wander,
Now I see him looking yonder,
Eyeing up the pretty girls
With Gucci bags and cultured pearls.
He promised me a solitaire
And top designer clothes to wear,
But all I got the last I checked,
Was disregard and disrespect.
No trace of all that money brings,
Like Gucci bags and diamond rings.



Norma Pain was born in Liverpool, England and now lives in Parksville, British Columbia, Canada. Thirty of Norma’s poems were published by Dana Literary Society, between 2004 and 2007 and she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize by that same on-line poetry site. She self-published a book of rhyme in 2000 called Bulging Assets.

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to mbryant@classicalpoets.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.


23 Responses

  1. Paul Erlandson

    This is constructed very nicely, with a fearsome symmetry. Even though one can sense where it is going from very early on, the “ride” is still very pleasurable.

    It makes me feel almost guilty, though, because for 36 years I’ve been basically living the first stanza of the Man’s View. I will await my wife’s poetic response, though, as to how it’s seemed from her point-of-view. She doesn’t have a Gucci anything!

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Paul for your wonderful comments. I too don’t own anything Gucci.

  2. Paul Freeman

    ‘…I would find instead / The food arranged upon my head…’


    Two rollicking pieces. Thanks for the laughs.

    • Norma Pain

      Hi Paul, thank you for your comments and appreciation of the humor I was trying to portray.

  3. Russel Winick

    Norma – the twists of images and expectations in a marriage over time – what a great topic for a poem! Maybe I’m lucky that my wife doesn’t write poetry! Highly enjoyable.

  4. Jeff Eardley

    Norma, it may be an English thing but these two have myself and wife (of 47 years) rolling about with laughter. These words should be included with every sloppy, slushy Anniversary card purchased, as a warning. Brilliant, amazing humour and well done you.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Jeff. I love to write with humor if I can, so your comments are a great encouragement to continue.

  5. Joseph S. Salemi

    There’s a wonderful lighthearted cynicism in these lines that reminds me of Hilaire Belloc.

    I do still think, however, that the breaking of a word at a line’s closure, and throwing the leftover syllable to the next line (as with “resent – ment” in the first poem) is a habit that should be discouraged in formal poetry.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Joseph for your kind comments and suggestion as to the carry-over word. It is something I will definitely keep in mind for future endeavors.

  6. Cheryl Corey

    Norma, we can all use a good laugh, and you provided it in spades with lines such as “But lay herself divinely prone, Indulging my testosterone.” The two poems mirror each other beautifully.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you so much Cheryl. After writing the male version, I knew that I would need to write the female version, so as to not get into trouble from
      either side!

  7. Allegra Silberstein

    Loved your delightful versions of a Man’s and a Woman’s view. Thank you. Allegra

  8. Margaret Coats

    “Gucci bags and diamond rings” is a wonderful refrain that serves to stereotype the woman’s one-track mind. I was trying to think of what identifies a man in the same way, and at least where I live, it’s his car. But he rarely expects his wife to purchase, maintain, or even drive this prize, so it stays separate from notions of marriage. You have plenty to work with in these fun poems of social psychology!

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you very much for your comments Margaret. These were both so much fun to write and to share.

  9. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Norma, this poem romps along with pleasing ease and a double dose of humor. I love it! I too can hear the whisper of Hilaire Belloc in the lines. Great stuff!

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Susan for your comments. I am in awe of your poetry so your words mean a lot to me. I will read up on Hilaire Belloc who I am not familiar with.

  10. David Watt

    Norma, out of so many memorable lines my favourites are:

    “But when late home and feeling chipper,
    Nowhere would I find my slipper,”

    Chipper is a delightfully English word, and deserving of more frequent employment.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you David. I am so happy that you enjoyed my poems. I am definitely feeling ‘chipper’.

  11. C.B. Anderson

    Great stuff, Norma! You have added another chapter to the Venus/Mars antimony.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Sorry, Norma, but antimony is a metallic element. I should have written antinomy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.