My Other Self

My Other Self
By John Kelly

I talk to myself more often I shout
But it’s all among friends and we never fall out
It may be myself, but it’s only me
‘Tis’ the man that I am and the man I should be

That proud, thoughtful man gives a hand at the delph
In scheme operated as two of myself
And people who think such a system is ‘quare’
Would talk a lot more if I wasn’t all there

That shrewd, hard taskmaster, my good other self
Plays many a part besides washing the delph
My secret shortcomings are ever portrayed
‘Though he helps me a lot when I’m far beyond aid

A whole box of woodbines to pieces he tore
I only had bought them five minutes before
I knew he was right-but you what I’d say
If anyone else had behaved in that way

A poem I had written and deemed to be good
Was soon written off in more critical mood
With a pair of us in it, I couldn’t complain
So we put all the pieces together again

But there’s no-one on earth like that good other John
Who else would put up with my ‘quare carry on’
Not many I ween, though he thinks that I should
And tells me they should all be chewing cud

My good other self, though far from his prime
Still holds more in store than appears to be mine
Accepting commitments my legs cannot bear
He shouts down old age with a confident air

His vocal power of’t given much freer rein
To shout down long silence which causes more pain
Aye-silence which doth prevail to the last
With all its reflections on life in the past

He’d go for ever, a man of that kind
Who dwell’s on the things that are good for the mind
From non-stop to full stop, at work or in play
Aye even my legs could not stand in the way

The moment you stop the moment is lost
And you’re forced to resume at a much greater cost
Arthritis decrees that you keep on the move
‘Though neighbour, sciatica, wouldn’t approve

Two nasty near neighbours who never agree
Except at war with a fellow like me
Frustrating the plans I so carefully laid
At famous King’s Cross ‘neath the sycamore shade

He’ll not tolerate lying down on the job
Or health hazard comfort of life on the hob
That sitting-duck open to worse line of fire
Than all visualised in idle desire

My good other self always proves to be right
With mind to explore and discover new light
And from that high eminence free to expound
On broader horizons of life all around

John Kelly (1909-1984)

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