This is for anyone who has teenage or pre-teen daughters… I assume the oet Adrian Henri must have been observing his own daughter or daughters, probably with a mixture of exasperation and wry amusement. As for myself, I have a 15 year-old daughter and I think she has just about passed this phase by now, but I recognize it completely.
I guess if this poem were written today, it could be called BFF…
‘Best Friends’ by Adrian Henri
It’s Susan I talk to not Tracey,
Before that I sat next to Jane;
I used to be best friends with Lydia
But these days I think she’s a pain.
Natasha’s alright in small doses,
I meet Mandy sometimes in town;
I’m jealous of Annabel’s pony
And I don’t like Nicola’s frown.
I used to go skating with Catherine,
Before that I went there with Ruth;
And Kate’s so much better at trampoline
She’s a showoff to tell you the truth.
I think I’m going off Susan,
She borrowed my comb yesterday;
I think I might sit next to Tracey,
She’s nearly my best friend: she’s OK.
Note how from the beginning to the end of the poem, the identity of the best friend shifts from Susan to Tracey, while everything in between consists of vignettes of other girls and why they are or are not suitable to be best friends, mostly not. The best way to describe this condition is probably transitory intensity, thank goodness they grow out of it…
The Poetry Dude