You Only Live Once

You Only Live Once long poem

The minute that you meet her she will tell you she is ill
She keeps all her medication upon her windowsill
And I have to say
It makes a fine display

Her grandchildren are fascinated by their colours, shapes and sizes
She encourages them to play with them and see which taste the nicest
Her pills and potions
Her creams and lotions

I said, ‘Mum, I know you like living dangerously but I really wish you wouldn’t’
She snapped, ‘Trust you to spoil my bit of fun, it’s good to do something I shouldn’t’
She grunts,
‘You only live once’
…And I reply – ‘exactly!’

She’s taken every tablet known to man, every cream she has applied
With every test available she has readily complied
But she’s told the nurse
She’s getting worse
(And I think she’s pleased)

Her illness is important to her it’s like a second skin
She sort of drapes it round herself it hangs from every limb
It surrounds her
Defines her

Her emergency list includes The Priest – though she’s never been religious
The Doctor, The Hospital, Her Friends and…. Us
We’ve got caller ID on our phone
And hers has a special tone
Hee, hee!

For she rules every conversation with the tales of her appointments
The latest news, the setbacks and her many disappointments
She’s oblivious
To us

She’s a slave unto her illness, it’s what’s she’s all about
She can’t possibly allow her health to improve ‘cos what would she talk about?
Politics and Education?
Her Sexual Frustration?
Ho Ho!

We reckon she’ll outlive the lot of us, she’s like a creaking gate
Over the years she’s sussed us out and learned to manipulate
And now the Doctor’s said
‘It’s all in her head’

‘She’s as tough as they come, she’s as fit as a fiddle, she’s been doing it all for attention
She’s played you along, she’s been having you on, she’s a master in the art of pretension’
Why! The crafty old bag
We’d been properly had
…And now….I’m going to get my own back…

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Catherine Scott

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I started writing poetry by chance/luck when I attended a workshop run by the wonderful Joe Hakim. That was just over 4 years ago. Since then I haven't stopped writing poetry and have also written some short plays which have been produced locally.Last year I did a 6 day stint at The Edinburgh Festival with my one woman stand up poetry show 'A Woman With A View' . My first poetry collection, also called 'A Woman With a View' was published by Burning Eye Books just in time for Edinburgh and is available on Amazon.I perform my work at open mics, spoken word events and festivals.
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3 Comments on "You Only Live Once"

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Absolutely stunning!

Editorial Board

Amidst all the verse we read, we suddenly come across one such absolutely entertaining piece of writing that keeps the smile on for a long time..wonderful portrait of a whimsical old grandmother you have created @Catherine_Scott, Kudos!


Absolutely great and yes I can see this going down with thunderouse applause at an open
poetry session. You have my applause here and now.


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