Has anyone come across the West Indian poet John Agard? He haled from Guyana and I do enjoy his wit and humour. He writes in West Indian English, so you have to read this with the right accent:

This morning on the way to Charing Cross
I found a stiff upper lip
lying there on the train seat

Finders Keepers
I was tempted to scream

But something about that stiff upper lip
left me speechless

It looked so abandoned so unloved
like a frozen glove
nobody bothers to pick up

I could not bear to hand in
that stiff upper lip
to the Lost & Found

So I made a place for it
in the lining of my coat pocket

And I said
Come with me to the Third World

You go thaw off


36 thoughts on “FINDERS KEEPERS

      1. What I particularly like, GillyK, is that a body part, which is one that is an expression of senses, in addition, it can also confirm them, is, here, a powerful metaphor. It becomes the focus in this prose. The provocative generation of thought of the metaphor thawing out is, for me, stunning. It is left to individual imagination as to what might occur.


      2. An expression of a culture, too – that’s what for me is so clever – expressed with humour – and, perhaps, a hint that other cultures feel they have to be patient with us?


      3. I once heard a Nigerian church leader in a report-back after his trip to England, give us his forthright views on some aspects of our culture which he did not find acceptable. It does us good from time to time to see ourselves as others see us.


      4. The stiff upper lip is, I think accepted as a cultural/behavioural expectation for our lot, in particular, with men, even today. It is so imbued into certain ‘classes’ and sectors of function, I doubt that it takes much discussion. Not unless, there is going to be a change in the acceptance of the stiff upper lip culture as part of the British psyche.


      5. There is a lot less of it than there used to be. But we still have a tendency to feel we should tough things out and not ‘make a fuss’.


      6. That’s for sure and, there are many who would fuss enough for others to flee from. There must be a happy median, though again, judging it would be difficult and subjective.


      7. Yes indeed one person’s fuss is another person’s drama.

        So are you practising your stiff upper lip for your surgery next week? Mine is on my right thumb and now I keep missing the M and N because I am having to use my index finger for that and the space bar! Is yours port or starboard?


      8. In shipping terms, I think I might be port…not being an expert on that, it’s left.

        Stiff upper lip, what’s that?

        Your index finger must be getting rather stretched, acrobatically speaking!!

        How’s the thumb, thus far?


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