Poem introduction

This poem was inspired by the strangest chat up line I’ve ever received. I’d done a reading, and then after the reading I’d gone to the pub with some of the people in the audience. Completely out of the blue, this bloke I hadn’t even spoken to at all all evening leaned across the table and said to me “Do you know? I’ve never slept with a poet before”. It was the word before that particularly alarmed me. So, I wrote this poem.

Occupational Hazard

Occupational Hazard

He has slept with accountants and brokers,
With a cowgirl (well, someone from Healds).
He has slept with non-smokers and smokers
In commercial and cultural fields.

He has slept with book-keepers, book-binders,
Slept with auditors, florists, Pas,
Child psychologists, even child minders,
With directors of firms and of plays.

He has slept with the stupid and the clever.
He has slept with the rich and the poor
But he sadly admits that he’s never
Slept with a poet before.

Real poets are rare, he confesses,
While it’s easy to find a cashier.
So I give him some poets’ addresses
And consider a change of career.


from Leaving and Leaving You (Carcanet, 1999) © Sophie Hannah 1999, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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Recordings

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1Don't Say I Said

2Rubbish at Adultery

3One Track Mind

4Superstitions

5The End of Love

6Differences

7Skipping Rhyme for Graduates

8An Aerial View

9Lusing Afte Walter Knife

10Hotels Like Houses

11When He's At Home

12The Sight of Mares

13Pink and the Gang

14The Good Loser

15Occupational Hazard

16In Woking on Boxing Day at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill

17If People Disapprove of You...

18Next Door Despised

19The Norbert Dentressangle Van

20Long for this World

21Wells-Next-the-Sea

22Homeopathy

23The Cancellation

24Now and Then

25Postcard from a Travel Snob

26Your Dad Did What?

27Homewrecker

28In the Chill

29Pessimism for Beginners

Books by Sophie Hannah