Friday, March 14, 2014

I Wish I'd Written This

Why I Like Men 

mainly i like men because they're different 
they're the opposite sex 
no matter how much you pretend they're ordinary 
human beings you don't really 
believe it 

they have a whole different language and geography 
so they're almost as good 
as a trip overseas when life gets dull 
and you start looking 
for a thrill 

next i like men because they're all so different 
one from the other 
and unpredictable so you can never really know 
what will happen from 
looks alone 

like anyone else i have my own taste with regard 
to size and shape and colour 
but the kind of style that has nothing to do 
with money can make you bet 
on an outsider 

lastly i guess i like men because they are the other 
half of the human race 
and you've got to start somewhere 
learning to live and let live 
with strangers 

maybe it's because you if can leave your options open 
ready to consider love 
with such an out and out foreigner 
it makes other people seem 
so much easier 

I've chosen this poem as a contemporary salute to the very recent International Women's Day, having shared last week a feminist poem of the past. Today's piece is ostensibly very calm, objective and gentle, but if a poem can be poker-faced, this one is.

When I sought permission to post it, Edith asked me why I wanted this particular poem. I replied:  

I've always adored your poem's tongue-in-cheek humour — which I find both gentle and devastating, and capable of being read in different ways.

I also thought the internet might be exploding with militant stuff on International Women's Day, and although there's a place for that, I liked the idea of following up this week with something clever and funny, which is equally powerful in its own way. As far as I could see, the internet exploded instead with positive, inspiring stuff, which was great — and I still like this poem for this week. I'd love to have written it!

The Write Stuff tells us:

Born in Canada, Edith Speers studied biochemistry before moving to Australia in 1974. She's a poet, teacher, editor and publisher, and manages Esperance Press, located in Dover, Tasmania. In 2001 was selected as a recipient of the Centenary Medal for community service, offered in conjunction with Australia’s Centenary (1901-2001) celebrations.

You can find several of her poems at this link too. 

The AustLit link at her name (above) has a more detailed biography, and notes that her work 'has been described as "feet-on-the-ground" poetry which is open and accessible to the general reader'.  

If you google "Edith Speers poet" you'll find a couple of pdf files of some of her poems, which you can read online or download to your computer for later. Her two poetry books, By Way of a Vessel (1986) and Four Quarters (2001) are still available (used) from Amazon — though you perhaps you won't rush to get the earlier one, which is priced as a collector's item at well over $100 USD! Four Quarters is also readily available new at the Esperance Press link for $22 AUD.

Her website gives a complete literary resume as well as other information. For instance she has won a number of awards. There are also further pdf samples of her work, including selections from her books.

On YouTube you can hear Alison Croggon reading Speers's Love Sonnet #9 (as well as poems by Judith Wright and herself. Wright and Croggon have both been featured in 'I Wish I'd Written This'). Well worth a listen!

Since adopting Australia as her second country, Edith Speers has done a great deal to promote the work of other Australian writers. We're lucky in all sorts of ways to have her!

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


  1. on behalf of my gender, I do so appreciate being liked and useful in some small way in keeping your life interesting. Nice work and Rosemary a really good selection.

    1. Glad you know your place and your function, Ron! :) Yes, it can read as fairly gentle man-bashing, and I have to admit I think it's fun that way. Then again, it could be read as a lampoon of that attitude.

  2. This is actually quite a satisfying write. Thanks.

    And, to the men: yes, you are quite Other, but we are fond of you.

  3. I enjoyed this greatly. It must certainly lead to better relationships with men when women recognize--and ask men to recognize--our different but equal status. In the USA the entire month of March is women's history month.

    1. I didn't know that about March in the USA. What a great idea.

  4. Rosemary, once again you have turned me on to a wonderful poet (besides yourself, that is). Australia is a place I hope to visit - the Sydney Olympics showed the quirky side of folks there, and all the open space must be wonderful. Glad you have adopted the continent. And thanks again for this post. Amy

    1. Well it is Edith Speers who has adopted the continent, and yes, I'm very glad she did. I am a dinkum Aussie who was born here. :)

    2. PS The open space is mostly desert and is in the vast, fairly empty centre. The coastal fringe where most people live has its share of crowded cities.

  5. Ha, Rosemary.....I really liked this poem. Indeed men are different; but it would be a boring world if both sexes were the same. Thanks for another 'gem' shared!

    1. You know what they say — some of my best friends are men, lol.

  6. Lovely poem. Will go up on my wall above my desk...
    Men are a wonderful distraction. Life would be stripped of its joy without them They have inspired all of my best poems. I have loved them my entire life and still I regard myself as a feminist.

  7. I, too, love the tongue-in-cheek voice in this poem and LOVE that the thought of loving "such an out and out foreigner" makes other people seem easier. Wonderful pick, my friend!

  8. Thank you for sharing Rosemary! I enjoyed the subtle humor behind the words.


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