Contrary Mary

So this poem was inspired by a number of things. I recently read the book Mary, Bloody Mary, about Queen Mary. It was quite good, actually. But anyway, the little nursery rhyme – Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? – is about Queen Mary. And then, I also got for Christmas The Pocket Muse, which is an excellent source of inspiration for writing, and there was an opposites exercise in there, so that gave me the idea for this poem too. It was sort of a mix of things that all came together and made – well, this. Hope you guys like it!

I once loved a beautiful lass

Her name was that of Mary

I tried to please her very hard

But, oh, she was so contrary

I came to her one morning

And offered her a kiss

She tried to slap me in response

I’m lucky that she missed

One day I brought her flowers of purple

Her favorite color, I knew

But she seized them from me

And through the air they flew

On her birthday I brought her a cake

She slowly took my dessert

And in my face she shoved it

Saying she would rather eat dirt

Beautiful Mary was always complaining

About her broken fence

But when I fixed it and showed it to her

She seemed to take offense

First, she chased me off her lot

Then, as I watched with moony eyes

She kicked down the fence

With cross, contrary cries

I kept trying to win her heart

For several years more

Until one day I found out

We were moving down the shore

When I told her of the news

She said she couldn’t care less

But I thought that she might miss me

Even if that’s not what she expressed

So I gave her a ticket

To visit me by train

But she remained as contrary as ever –

She visited me by plane.


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