Martin Stannard



How Not to Start the Day

One should avoid at all costs
Ungodly hours such as 3.15 or 4.22 –
You are not a night-watchman
Unless of course you are a night-watchman
In which case you should read these instructions
During the night and not during the day
And do not start the day by watching a YouTube video
Featuring people who (apparently) do the same job as you
But are much more successful and have become household names
The day will seem to be a complete and utter waste of time
If you start it in this way
Do not start the day engaging in coitus
With your spouse, girl- or boyfriend, imaginary partner, or yourself
Sexual intercourse may seem like a good way to start a day
And until a certain age it is, but your author is old
So everything he says is coloured by too much painful experience
And when you are old sexual anything will leave you drained of energy
And somewhat unfit to face the rigours of the day fully-charged
So sexual kerfuffle is best left until last thing at night
Or by-passed altogether
(This matter will be dealt with more fully in
“How To End The Day”, a poem that may exist in the future)
And do not start the day in pseudo-epic-Homeric style
Throwing thy robe about thy gracious body
And thy cloak athwart thy ample shoulders
Just put on your dressing gown like an ordinary Joe
This is not ancient Greece and you are not epic
Although your worries and woes may feel that way
When you start the day
And if you start the day in the wrong way
You have only yourself to blame take my advice
Take my advice
Do not start the day in thrall to anyone
You may go to sleep like that
(Although it’s not recommended) but do not continue
In the morning where you left off last night
The day is new so be new too
Or at least be the best version of yourself you can be
Do not  start the day worrying about the weather
Or whether or not people like you of course
People like you and don’t like you in various degrees
Ranging from love and admiration to pure loathing
Do not start the day worrying about things
That don’t matter
The air is full of what might happen
But it’s rarely worth thinking about and if you do think about it
Keep it short there’s an entire day ahead of you
And if by accidental chance you start the day
With a rottweiler dragging you to the floor with glee
Or God in Old Testament vengeance mode growls Good Morning
Voiceless but you hear him anyway
You don’t need me to tell you this is not a good way to start the day –
The best way to start the day is to

[awaiting completion – one needs to be more than wide awake to write this stuff]




Martin Stannard‘s most recent full-length collection is Poems for the Young at Heart (Leafe Press, 2016) and a chapbook, Items, was published by Red Ceilings in August.

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