Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
26 August 2020

The NS Poem: Joie de vivre

A new poem by Paul Bailey.

By Paul Bailey

I have a battery that keeps me ticking.
I think I take at least twenty pills a day.
I laugh when I can and weep when I must.
I love and am loved. Oh, it ought to become a psalm,
this catalogue I’m setting down
with measured sorrow and delight
in the very first hour of an April morning.

It’s All Fools’ Day right now.
I listen to my waste making its way
into the stoma that I’ve had to wear 
for ten confusing months
and almost marvel at the sound it’s making.

My body’s not what it was.
It’s been opened up and put back together
too many discomforting times.
It seems a stranger to me when I need to look at it

There are hyacinths and tulips in the garden
and a few distraught daffodils
and the untrustworthy camellia’s about to blossom.

Paul Bailey is a British novelist, critic and poet. “Joie de Vivre”, his next collection of poems, will be published by CB Editions in May 2021.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy