The Friday Poem: ‘Deidre Barlow’ by Jilly O’Brien

New verse by Jilly O’Brien.


Deirdre Barlow


Deirdre do the neck thing

Deirdre do the neck thing

Deidre do that thing with your neck

The worried neck and specs thing


Oh Ken


a lady gave birth in an ambulance because she left it too late

watching you leave Ken in 1983

since Emily Bishop found out about your clandestine date

with Mike who you’d been knocking off

and he’s knocking at the door,

and he’s knocking at the door

Ken says I love you and you say his pride is hurt

but he slams you up against the door which wasn’t in the script

but Ken and the director knew

he was going to grab you

which must have been a bit of a shock

what with Ken being so dull

The Bishop of Edmonton didn’t like it

because it was too realistic

which makes me wonder a bit

and he was waiting outside the door but Ken shut it on him

Mike, not the Bishop, although maybe the Bishop was in turmoil


Oh Ken


you said it a few times but carried on anyway with your suitcases

down the stairs to your mother’s

and Ken said I love you and you said

Oh Ken


and you did the neck thing, Deirdre

Deirdre you did the neck thing

Deirdre you did that thing with your neck


The papers gave you marriage advice

The Mail said ‘Remain’

The Express said ‘leave’

and the Queen did too

knowing a bit about all that business

Old Trafford flashed up DEIRDRE AND KEN UNITED AGAIN on its scoreboard

to 56000 Man U Arsenal fans who stopped singing

‘I hope (insert players name)’s wife gets cancer’



At the time, Sir John Betjeman said

I think Ken is a nice man and deserves better.


Later on you divorced Ken anyway and met a man on holiday

who exchanged Turkey for Weatherfield whilst you still could do that sort of thing

but it wasn’t the same and he never did the sports jacket and flick,

Sports jacket and flick

like Ken.


Oh Ken

Oh Ken

Afterwards Deirdre you testified he was always a perfect gentleman


Jilly O’Brien, 2017

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