lines on the retrirement of andrew motion by andrew motion

I went to a restaurant
My Italian friend Romeo
In tow

Being related to the Queen
(More or less –
I’ve written her 8 poems
they were published in The Times,
you’ll have seen)

I don’t carry cash
Nor a credit card
Nor a calculator with a muliply function
Nor those lifesavers, the Voucher of Luncheon

So we sat and we filled
Our bellies, friend and I

Starters: Garlic bread
Mains: Some sort of fish (no chips)
Afters: Lemon meringue pie

And friend annouced that he would pay
My poor poetry-wage being all cheap, sweet sherry
He stood and patted down his jacket
His manly bag
His trouser pocket

“Oh woe,” cried he
“I have no moolah
“No quids, no pence, and even crueller
“My wallet has gone
“No cards have I
“Not a Visa, nor a Diners, nor a ‘Carte Barclay’ ”

“We’re in trouble, old chum there’s no escape
“It’s the washing up for us
“You rinse, I’ll scrape.”

Then coming here from over yonder
Our table’s waiter soon did wander
To our table, tip expectant
Invoice printed, free mint fondant

“Ah bonne afternoon, monsieurs, eet iz a lovely day”
Said the unconvincing Frog, accent more
Lambeth Way
than Champs Elysees
“Ow would vous aimez to pay?”

I asked,
“Do you have an offer on?
“Where two can eat for the price of one?”
And continued on
As our waiter eyed me
“Or even where two can eat for free?”

Accent dropped, and friendship, too:
“What?”
I went for the ultimate, “Do you know who I am?”
“Oui, monsieur, indeed I do.”

“But we’re out of cash, no card, no cheque”
With a Gallic shrug
And with some regret
We found that Romeoed
What Laureate.

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