Roald Dahl calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: As I was going to St Ives

COUNSELOR: This sounds familiar.

CALLER: I met a man with seven wives

COUNSELOR: And you want to know how many cats they had in their forty-nine sacks?

CALLER: Said he, ‘I think it’s much more fun / Than getting stuck with only one.’

COUNSELOR: But more work too, I’d imagine.

CALLER: . . .

COUNSELOR: I mean, emotional labor. With eight people, the housework must go swimmingly.

CALLER: . . .

COUNSELOR: Uh. . . except for cleaning up after three hundred and forty-three cats.


Click here to read “St. Ives” and other poems by Roald Dahl.

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