I hated skiing






I hated skiing, shivered in the cold

I faced the terrors of the snow-plough turn,

While you, so daring, swished the crisp new snow

On parallel skis, erect, unconcerned.

I loved the geysers in Yellowstone Park,

Admired the buffalo, but from the car,

While you, my hero, dashed out after dark

In search of grizzlies, hunter-gatherer, star.

Explain to me what you have to prove?

Has your manly ego taken a dent?

Should we sell our house? Go on the move?

Flee to Taransay? Buy a tent?

Women are civilised, accept their lot,

Civilised men pretend they’re not.


A sonnet written from my wife, Mary’s, point of view. The opening four lines sum up our respective experiences on her first skiing holiday when she struggled in the cold in the beginner’s class while I had a lovely time in the sunshine on the high slopes. This idea is taken further when we went to Yellowstone Park together. I was keen to see buffalo and grizzlies while Mary was understandably reluctant to get too close to them. However, my dashing out after dark is a bit of poetic licence. Taransay is an island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It was the host of the British television series Castaway 2000 when 36 men and women spent a year on the island as though castaways. I had most difficulty finding the final couplet. The result is deliberately bathetic, highlighting the stupidity of men trying to be macho [uncivilised] and the sense of women who don’t feel the need to do so. Is this sexist? Maybe but it’s playful and not meant to be taken too seriously.