Venus de Milo – a poem

This poem is part of a longer one I wrote for my mum’s 70th birthday. The crossword clues are from the London Times, 5 August 1949.

In an incandescent corridor

perched on a folding chair

Ron Tippett’s ink-stained fingers

rake through crinkly brylcreamed hair

All there is for him to look at

is a worn No Smoking sign

a desiccated cheese plant

and a dog-eared London Times.

The crossword might distract him

from the cacaphonic noise

“They do not pay for seats in stalls”

That’s easy: CHOIR BOYS

“Their business is a blooming sell”

could FLORISTS be the word?

and “Stymie on the table”

must be SNOOKER – that’s his third!

“Venus de Milo does not need it”

(two words, five and four)

Could it be WRIST WATCH? No, too long.



She doesn’t need a SPACE SUIT cos she won’t be blasting off

and she doesn’t need a COUGH DROP cos she hasn’t got a cough

You could try her on a PEACE PIPE but the Louvre says No Smoking

and she has no use for STEEL WOOL – she leaves her pans a-soaking.

“Venus de Milo does not need it”

(Two words, five and four).

That clue is really nagging him

He’ll have to think some more.

Venus doesn’t need a CHECK BOOK cos she’s got no way of cashing ‘em

She lives in dread of ITCHY FEET – she’s got no way of scratching ‘em.

No AGONY AUNT can help her, she’s a hypergloomy Gus,

and she doesn’t need a GRAVY BOAT, cos honestly, who does?

Our Venus needs no VOICE MAIL to keep track of any messages

It’s hard to set a MOUSE TRAP without brachial appendages

She doesn’t need a WEDGE HEEL – it would make her feel unsteady

And she doesn’t need a POKER FACE, she’s wearing one already.

She doesn’t need a LIGHT BULB cos she wouldn’t reach the switch

And she doesn’t need a DRESS RACK cos she never wears a stitch

She doesn’t need a TRAIN FARE cos she’s got no place to go

and she doesn’t need a SLIDE RULE (she’s got a Macbook Pro).

KOALA? PANDA? GUMMI BEAR? She’s just not into bears.

And she doesn’t need a STAIR LIFT for she’s not allowed upstairs.


You really don’t need much when you’re a goddess made of stone.


Someone’s calling him! It’s time to sally forth

and The Times is now discarded on the disinfected floor.

Those Barratt boots are galloping towards the sunlit ward

Moving fast as Water Biscuit on a firm dry summer course.

And there’s his wife! And there’s the nurse! And there’s the tiny cot!

Well, well, well (as camels say), what a perfect girl they’ve got!

Oh my, thinks Ron, she hasn’t got much ELBOW ROOM in there

then suddenly he laughs out loud and leaps into the air!

Published by

Stephen Davies

Children's author: picture books, chapter books and YA novels

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