When the phone rings

I wrote this this week and performed it for its first time out today at The Anchor in Woodbridge. It seemed to go down ok. In fact, it went down pretty well. With women especially. I like that.


When The Phone Rings


I hate it when the phone rings

Just in case it’s you.

I don’t want to remember

A bright crisp day

Not too long ago but

Somehow far too far away

To get back there now

When all we could do was light a fire

And sit holding hands that afternoon

Talking almost in whispers,

Feeding logs into the stove.

You should have been at work.

And I had things to do,

Both forgetting that this spell

Would break, as all spells have to.

That afternoon shone with promises

While the winter sun bleached

Our hearts clear and new.

And then the phone rings.

And maybe it’s you.


Have I thought again about life insurance?


You wanted to insure your car for me

And I wanted to insure my life for you;

It’s who we are. Or more properly

That’s who we were.

Maybe you never knew.

I so much wanted that for you.

That’s how we were,

When if I’d died I’d have wanted you

Quite rich if I couldn’t want you

Any more.  It was all I could think

To give you. Apart from me.

So no, actually, I mean I have,

But all things considered

And I don’t really want to go into this

Too much on the phone

With a stranger somehow

But I feel as if all I have left

Is being polite right now,

Being English.

So I don’t really need

My life insured. Thanks.

Or not for you, anyway. Not now.

Make some more tea

And now you’re not here

It seems I don’t really need

To wash the cup clean.

There’s a missed call on my phone

But it’s not your number.

It never is now.

And no-one there anyway.

Especially not you.

It never will be somehow.

I’ll be ok, you know? I’ll be ok.

But just for a while,

Until I can forget the logs

And the stove and the bright sun

And your dog and all

Of the glory we could see

That afternoon so full of crystal light

So cold; you held my hand

And told me over and again:

“It’ll be alright”;

Just until then I hate it

When the phone rings.

Just in case it’s you.



And yes, of course it’s about a real person. And no, she wasn’t there and hasn’t heard it. A pity.


It’s not quite as in-your-face as this violinist’s reaction to a phone ringing. My stuff was described once as making me ‘the king of passive aggression’ but I think Lukas Kmit must be the emperor. Oh, and she still hasn’t heard it, so far as I know.

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