Poem of the Week - ‘Stanley’ by Lorraine Mariner

Yesterday evening I finished 
with my imaginary boyfriend. 
He knew what I was going to say 
before I said it which was top of my list
of reasons why we should end it.

My other reasons were as follows:
He always does exactly what I tell him
Nothing in our relationship has ever surprised me
He has no second name.

He took it very well
all things considered.
He told me I was to think of him
as a friend and if I ever need him
I know where he is.


I went to the cinema to see Pixar’s Inside Out recently (my inner child was threatening to throw a tantrum), which could be part of what drew me to this week’s poem. The film has a lot to say on the merits of imaginary companions, boyfriends included. As does, I think, the sonnet above. It’s an unconventional one, but it is a sonnet - and a love-poem - nonetheless. 

For any fans, I can tell you that the themes of the poem - the troubles and the comforts that we can give ourselves, the strangeness of the world that we create in our minds and what John Mole calls “the wise-child knowingness” of the poem - are all echoed again and again throughout Lorraine Mariner’s excellent pamphlet Bye For Now (The Rialto, 2005).

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