Sophie Hannah


You Won'T Find A Bath In Leeds - Poem by Sophie Hannah

From the River Cam and the A14
To the Aire and the tall Ml,
We left the place where home had been,
Still wondering what we'd done,
And we went to Yorkshire, undeterred
By the hearts we'd left down South
And we couldn't believe the words we heard
From the lettings agent's mouth.

He showed us a flat near an abbatoir
Then one where a man had died
Then one with nowhere to park our car
Then one with no bath inside.
With the undertone of cheering
Of a person who impedes,
He looked straight at us, sneeering,
'You won't find a bath in Leeds'.

'We have come to Leeds from Cambridge.
We have heard that Leeds is nice.
A bath is seen in Cambridge
As an integral device,
So don't tell me that a shower
Is sufficient to meet my needs,'
I said. I received a glower
And 'You won't find a bath in Leeds'.

He fingered a fraying curtain
And I said, 'You can't be sure.
Some things in life are uncertain
And that's what hope is for.
One day I might meet Robert Redford
At Bristol Temple Meads.
I've found baths in Bracknell and Bedford
And I might find a bath in Leeds.'

He replied with a refutation
Which served to increase our pain
But we didn't head for the station
Or run for a rescue train,
Though we felt like trampled flowers
Who'd been set upon by weeds.
We told him to stuff his showers
And we would find a bath in Leeds.

Some people are snide and scathing
And they try to undermine
Your favourite form of bathing
Or the way you write a line.
At night, while you're busy praying
That your every plan succeeds,
There are killjoys somewhere saying,
'You won't find a bath in Leeds'.

A better definition
Might be reading all of Proust,
But the concept of ambition
Has been radically reduced.
While the London wits are burning
Their cash in the Groucho club,
In Yorkshire we're simply yearning
To locate an enamel tub.

I win, Mr Bath Bad Tidings.
I have not one bath but two.
En-suite in the sweet West Ridings
And no bloody thanks to you.
I may never run fast, or tower
Over Wimbledon's top seeds
Or hit sixes like David Gower
But I have found a bath in Leeds.


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Read poems about / on: london, thanks, car, believe, river, people, hope, pain, home, flower, running



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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