A poem for the miserably married


The first course I’m preparing for Udemy (short, online, largely video) is Write Over Divorce. It’s been great fun so far, planning the curriculum and making slideshows and videos.

One video is about how I have used writing to reduce the trauma of divorce — and it includes an alarming piece of doggerel, written when my marriage was beyond repair.

To me, the poem is a reminder that terrible situations can be changed, and people can flourish after divorce. Case in point: my ex and I have each been as happy as Larry for the last three decades, and we are friends.

The original poem is long lost, so this one is a half-accurate reconstruction from memory. I think it was published in Broadsheet, a splendid feminist magazine of the 1970s, but I never included it in any book. However, at the time it was widely circulated by women (and some men) in similar situations and became a popular fridge poem, stuck to many a refrigerator door with a magnet.

Feel free to share it with somebody who needs it now!

I’m tired

I’m tired of acting dutiful and tame
I’m tired of always taking all the blame
I’m tired of using someone else’s name
I’m tired of blowing on this dying flame
I only said I’d marry you
I never said I’d carry you
And I’m tired.

I’m tired of being nothing but a nurse
Your silence is as bitter as a curse
And every day it gets a little worse
There’s nothing left but money in the purse
I only said I’d marry you
I never said I’d carry you
And I’m tired.

I’m tired of sifting truth from all the lies
of trying to be helpful and be wise
and seeing in the glass my empty eyes
and every day a little loving dies
I only said I’d marry you
I never said I’d carry you
and I’m tired.


– – – – –

Rachel McAlpine, 1977?

PS You can read other poems by me on Poems in the wild 

8 thoughts on “A poem for the miserably married

  1. Bernadette says:

    A skillful poem about very hard feelings.

  2. Aunt Beulah says:

    I wish I’d read your poem thirty years ago when I got divorced. It would have helped by making me realize my emotions were shared by other women and by making me chuckle ruefully to see my thoughts so accurately represented. Thank you for writing it. I will share it when any woman I love needs it — so, really, I hope I never have to share it!

    1. You’re right, it is such a relief to discover that you’re not alone when things are this bad. My young granddaughter recently assured me that I had No Idea what it was like to have boy trouble like hers. I found that very funny. And how we hope none of our favourite people ever need this kind of poem.

  3. Robyn Haynes says:

    You made a good choice if this poem indicates how bad it was. I’m tired of friends trying to line me up. I’m happy being who I truly am. Alone (in the couple sense) doesn’t necessarily mean lonely does it?

    1. Like you I’m very, very happy living alone, and never lonely. Mind you, I have had a lot of practice by now. I’m guessing that your matchmakers want the best for you, but their idea of best is not necessarily yours!

      1. Robyn Haynes says:

        You hit that one on the head!

  4. Great poem Rachel, I read it and laughed, I read it again and thought gosh this is a touch familiar. I have been married just over 40 years and by crikey I am tired, but for all the whinging I aim at my beloved, he’s worth carrying. He does his fair share of carrying, in fact he is well and truly lugging me at the moment, I am a lucky ducky to have a wonderful partner, with a great sense of humour and thankfully we love each other’s company. I am so glad I found your site, it looks like I am going to really enjoy reading your stories Rachel.
    Kind Regards from
    Annie in Australia 🌞 🌴 🌊

    1. Hey there Annie, what fun to read your comment. I love to meet or hear about marriages that really work, and they do come in all varieties. So despite my own record I am not a cynic about marriage. What a super and honest tribute to your own. Even so, you know what I mean! Let’s keep in touch. PS love your style