Adrian Henri

(10 April 1932 - 20 December 2000 / Birkenhead, Cheshire)

Without You


Without you every morning would feel like going back to work after a holiday,
Without you I couldn't stand the smell of the East Lancs Road,
Without you ghost ferries would cross the Mersey manned by skeleton crews,
Without you I'd probably feel happy and have more money and time and nothing to do with it,
Without you I'd have to leave my stillborn poems on other people's doorsteps, wrapped in brown paper,
Without you there'd never be sauce to put on sausage butties,
Without you plastic flowers in shop windows would just be plastic flowers in shop windows,
Without you I'd spend my summers picking morosley over the remains of train crashes,
Without you white birds would wrench themselves free from my paintings and fly off dripping blood into the night,
Without you green apples wouldn't taste greener,
Without you Mothers wouldn't let their children play out after tea,
Without you every musician in the world would forget how to play the blues,
Without you Public Houses would be public again,
Without you the Sunday Times colour suppliment would come out in black-and-white,
Without you indifferent colonels would shrug their shoulders and press the button,
Without you they's stop changing the flowers in Piccadilly Gardens,
Without you Clark Kent would forget how to become Superman,
Without you Sunshine Breakfast would only consist of Cornflakes,
Without you there'd be no colour in Magic colouring books,
Without you Mahler's 8th would only be performed by street musicians in derelict houses,
Without you they'd forget to put the salt in every packet of crisps,
Without you it would be an offence punishable by a fine of up to £200 or two months' imprisonment to be found in possession of curry powder,
Without you riot police are massing in quiet sidestreets,
Without you all streets would be one-way the other way,
Without you there'd be no one to kiss goodnight when we quarrel,
Without you the first martian to land would turn round and go away again,
Without you they'd forget to change the weather,
Without you blind men would sell unlucky heather,
Without you there would be
no landscapes/no stations/no houses
no chipshops/no quiet villages/no seagulls
on beaches/no hopscotch on pavements/no night/no morning/
there'd be no city no country
Without you.

Submitted: Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Edited: Friday, March 02, 2012

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  • Rookie - 369 Points Stephen W (3/13/2014 6:14:00 PM)

    Agree it is absolute rubbish. Formula-written nonsense. You could compose additional lines yourself ad nauseam.
    'Without you the moon would just be a yellow circle' or somesuch dross. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 2,787 Points Valerie Dohren (3/13/2014 1:40:00 PM)

    I don't normally comment on Poem of the Day, but I have to say that this is absolute rubbish! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Phyllis T. Halle (3/13/2012 4:43:00 PM)

    The world is a poorer place now that Adrian Henri is gone to his maker. He was a poet who had found the Infinite Eternal Truth; to find someone who fills every nook and cranny of your world is what makes life worth living. I wish I had met him before he died! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie *Trusting You* (11/11/2008 6:23:00 PM)

    Without you they'd forget to change the weather
    thats a good line. I would have never thought of that.
    *Purkey Girl* (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Victoria Blisse (8/29/2007 1:11:00 PM)

    This is one of my favourite poems, it simply resonates in my soul. I love the touch of humour with the depth of despair and yearning coming through under that blase front.

    I feel this poem and that is the highest form of praise I am capable of bestowing. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Lidiya Zaharieva (7/25/2005 10:10:00 AM)

    its quite nice, however there are things he mentions that would stop without 'you' and i dont think this is the case... the most irritating line in the poem for me is:

    'Without you Mothers wouldn't let their children play out after tea'

    No they wouldnt because they dont know you, so it wouldnt be such a great lost for them....

    By far NOT my favourite..... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Nicolette Coleman (11/25/2004 8:03:00 AM)

    This has been my favourite poem since I first read it at the age of 18. I think it is very moving, giving a real feel for how he would feel if his love left him

    My favourite line is: Without you every street is one way the other way. (Report) Reply

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