Monday, February 14, 2011

My Favorite Poem, Once Lost, Now Found

More than a decade ago I read this poem and was amazed at its brilliance and humor (although I realize not everyone shares my opinion), but years later when I wanted to find it again I realized I didn't know the poet (I was pretty sure it was Phillip Lopate or Phillip Larkin) or the first line. I made several attempts over the years to find it with no luck.

Well, with the help of librarian extraordinaire Roger P. and the trusty internet, here it is! It is hard to explain how excited I am to have found something I thought was lost. Let me know what you think.

We Who Are Your Closest Friends
by Phillip Lopate

We who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting,
as a group,
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
discontent and
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift.
Your analyst is
in on it,
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband;
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us.
In announcing our
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves.
But since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community
of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center,
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your disastrous personality
then for the good of the collective.


  1. I just don't get this, Betsy. Of all the poems in all the gin joints.... ??? Help me to understand.

  2. Um. Well. I do. I get it.

    Devastatingly wry. And hilarious.