Dorothy Pope

Surprised by Joy

Who before you conducted symphonies
in my suburban living room,

declared Rachmaninov impossible
(you’d pierce the ceiling with your bow),

inspired me to empathise, find you
a pillow filled with softest down?

You made me want to rise at 4 am.
to see you off to France to play.

You charm the Yorkshire pudding off my plate
donating carrots in return,

reply you want to spend your twenty-first
with me, what’s more, call this house ‘home’.

Far from your fatherless, strict boyhood home,
on scholarship among the rich,

with mandarin looks and language, brave, adrift,
you moved my heart to tenderness.

I thought to give – but find myself surprised
by unimagined, rosy joy.


Dorothy Pope began writing at the age of fifty-three
having taken early retirement from teaching. She is
author of The Fourth Man – A Selection of Poems
(self-published) and The Summerhouse Poems.
She teaches English to individual pupils in a garden
shed at her Harrow on the Hill home. Disabled,
married (to The Fourth Man) for fifty years of
heaven, she has two sons.