Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Poetry & Stories
3 March 2021updated 08 Sep 2021 2:54pm

The NS Poem: In praise of skinny lads

A new poem by Tamsin Hopkins.

By Tamsin Hopkins

I love all those skinny lads made of elbows 
and knees joined up by stick-limbs that angle 
about, those loping would-be louts whose knees 
are seen on the stairs before the rest of them 
whose eyes are apologetic and whose tongues 
lick the honey from warm bread not quite toasted.

My heart fills for those twiggy proto-men 
when their backsides sink in granny’s sofa 
causing them to peer between their knees, 
knees angled like tilted picture frames, 
their spindle fingers hovering on stringy thighs, 
their feet nearly covering the rug. I love them 
when they get out of the sofa to pass their gran a slice 
of lemon drizzle, like a disjointed deckchair trying to rise.

Tamsin Hopkins is a poet based in London. Her pamphlet, “Inside the Smile”, is published by Cinnamon Press.

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. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. 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 newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

This article appears in the 03 Mar 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Humanity vs the virus