Monday, 27 December 2010

The Poetry Bus looks a gift-horse in the mouth

I'm finally back at the bus stop after a several-week absence. My word-hoard has been as empty as my wallet after Christmas. Today, however, I managed to scrape together enough poor coins for the fare.

This week, Muse Swings has set us the task of writing about the worst gift we ever received.

This poem, although written in the present tense, describes a gifting of many years ago.

Click on Muse Swing's link above for the original prompt and the links to other bus passengers. Have a go yourself, there's still time.

The Gift

America, America, home of the brave and free
Land of milk and honey, and of opportunitee.
A land o'erflowing with good things, to see, to eat, to wear.
So what d'you think my mum-in-law has brought me back from there?

Has she brought me Wranglers, or Nikes at cost price?
Has she got a camera?  A Walkman would be nice!
Perhaps some Hershey's Kisses, or some other candy sweet.
Just some little trinket, just some little treat.

Now, I know she's tried her hardest and this gift is kindly meant.
There are no hidden messages - to please is her intent.
So can anybody tell me, can someone make it clear
Why she's brought me back a dishcloth, when we HAVE THEM OVER HERE!


  1. Oh dear! I hope Mother-In-Law isn't trying to tell you something!
    I like the rhyme scheme here, and the 14 syllable lines which carry the poem along in a steady rhythm.

  2. Dear Argent,
    OMG, no lie! I have some dish towels from Ireland, brought back. They are not the good linen tho.

    Ann T.

  3. Was it a Stars and Stripes motif, at least?

  4. I'm sat in the living room here with a laptop on my lap (now I know why it's called a laptop! Of course!) Your poem -I only do this rarely- had me reading it outloud to the assembled company.

  5. Did it have a recipe on it? We always get the "Irish Soda Bread" tea towels brought to us, or the Buckingham Palace tea towel, or are you talking non-descript, run-of-the-mill DISHtowels? That's hilarious!
    I like the way you disclaim and give her the benefit of the doubt.
    I'm going to read this to the Mister now.


  6. I have not been clear. By dishcloth, I do not mean the thing you dry up with that has nice pictures, recipes or whatever. I mean a small cloth for wiping tables, a Jay-cloth type of thing. A nice tea-towel, I could have tolerated, welcomed even. She explained that she thought they were of better quality than the ones we have here - they were IDENTICAL to the ones we have here!

  7. Awesome poem, I'm still laughing :)

  8. Imagine if you will - a dishcloth as a souvenir. wow. Was it at least "Made in America"? Most stuff in America isn't made here or grown here or constructed here. Masterful poem -both in the construction and the story it tells.

  9. Rip roaring fun! Love your poem .... the thought that counts? Hard to keep in perspective.

  10. It's a great poem with true festive forgiveness as well as some interesting terminological inexactitudes! Dishcloth or Dish Towel. Up 'ere in t'frozen north we call 'em "tea towels." Clog Dancing or Black Pudding motifs are not uncommon.

  11. In-laws everywhere seem to have a thing for bad gifts. I hope you put it to the use it deserved...and found something just as lame to return the favor!

  12. Neat and even a tad poignant: how to get something important so badly wrong!

  13. A jolly rhyme with an inbuilt smile! LOL

  14. large lolling!.. fantastic! :-D
    hope you had an excellent Christmas, and in case I don't get round before friday, have a fablus new year too ;-)

  15. Nuts4fruit - many thanks

    MuseSwings - I don't think it was made in America.  It was a plain wiping tables cloth.

    TFE - Muchly thankings

    Helen  - She never really was satisfied with my housekeeping so I suspect there was a bit of a hint going on, but she meant well.

    Dr FTSE - we call them tea towels here too (Midlands).  I'd have been happy enough with a souvenir one of those.

    NanU - heh! I didn't exact my revenge as it happens, to be honest I never thought of it and now it's way too late.

    Dick - I always think gift giving is important as it says a lot about the giver, the giver's opinion of the recipient and their relationship.  I should be grateful she thought of me at all.

  16. When you go will you send back a dishcloth from America?
    Great fun and the capitalisation adds to the humour.

  17. Ooh - I can use the dishcloth to dry my saucepan!

  18. Bug, that's a genius idea! Maybe we should set up a website for exchanging/combining these unwanted items.

  19. haha another in law rears it's gifting head!
    I wonder why they're coming up so often!?!

  20. Hahahahahahaha! Love it! (One of my Irish friends always wants Tootsie Rolls!)


Without your comments, I am but a wave without a shore...