Helen Mort is carrying on

The Lovesick

Written in response to the Carry On film 'Follow That Camel!'

We're just like Bo and Nocker in a 1960s film; two mugs
drawn in by something like a belly-dancer's tasselled hips,
kidnapped the day we pause to shake out shoes
and underwear (the desert sand gets everywhere).

Watch: in a blink, our efforts melt to farce
and inexplicably, we're naked, clutching shells,
or improvising combat with a cricket bat.
We're a sandcastle-building contest gone to pot –

the tragedy is less the palaces knocked down,
more the earnestness we built them with.
No matter if the set's a beach in Camber Sands,
the dunes still tipped with snow, we strip sincerely

in the Sussex afternoon and throw our teatowels
to the wind. It's love, we say, this carrying on.
We must not think beyond the final, scripted scene.

*Helen Mort has published two pamphlets with tall-lighthouse press, the most recent – A Pint for the Ghost – was a Poetry Book Society Choice for Spring 2010. She is currently Poet in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere.


  1. Anonymous

    Love this. So very English.

  2. Anonymous

    Fab Helen. All great and the last line is a cracker. We used to go to Camber on hols but not a lot of carrying on…

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