He Tells Her that the Earth is Flat

There are a growing number of people who give the same weight to opinions as they do to facts. And some of them can’t even see any difference between them. It’s disturbing, and dangerous, but also absurd, as Wendy Cope reveals in her poem, ‘Differences of Opinion.”


Wendy Cope (July 21, 1945 – ) English poet for both adults and children, and editor; her poetry collections include Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, Anecdotal Evidence, Two Cures for Love, and Family Values. She has also edited several poetry anthologies.


To read Wendy Cope’s poem click:



Differences of Opinion

by Wendy Cope

1.

HE TELLS HER

He tells her that the earth is flat —
He knows the facts, and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long
She tries her best to prove him wrong.
But he has learned to argue well.
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round.

2.

YOUR MOTHER KNOWS

Your mother knows the earth’s a plane
And, challenged, sheds a martyr’s tear.
God give her strength to bear this pain –
A child who says the world’s a sphere!

Challenged, she sheds a martyr’s tear.
It’s bad to make your mother cry
By telling her the world’s a sphere.
It’s very bad to tell a lie.

It’s bad to make your mother cry.
It’s bad to think your mother odd.
It’s very bad to tell a lie.
All this has been ordained by God.

It’s bad to think your mother odd.
The world is round.  That’s also true.
All this has been ordained by God.
It’s hard to see what you can do.

The world is round.  That must be true.
She’s praying, hoping you will change.
It’s hard to see what you can do.
Already people find you strange.

She’s praying, hoping you will change.
You’re difficult.  You don’t fit in.
Already people find you strange.
You know your anger is a sin.

You’re difficult.  You don’t fit in.
God give her strength to bear this pain.
You know your anger is a sin.
Your mother knows the earth’s a plane.


“Differences of Opinion” was first published in Poetry magazine’s February 2006 issue.

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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