A Rebellion

Resisting, reimagining, and reclaiming words.
Taking ownership of our stories.

Erin Gough

To Her Pushy Boyfriend

A reimagining of
Andrew Marvell's
To His Coy Mistress

My poem, ‘To Her Pushy Boyfriend’ responds to English author Andrew Marvell’s poem ‘To His Coy Mistress’. In the original poem, the narrator addresses a woman who has been slow to respond to his romantic advances, in an effort to get her to have sex with him. He interprets her resistance as ‘coy’, talks derisively about her ‘long-preserved virginity’ and suggests, in a very patronising way, that her honour is ‘quaint’. We don’t hear anything from her perspective. My poem seeks to rectify this by imagining her response.
—Erin Gough

The Rebellion

Had we but world enough and time,
I’d say to you, by way of rhyme
just how revolting it has been
to listen to your sickly stream
of pretty words you hoped would make
me sleep with you. Give me a break.
You call me “coy” coz I refuse
to give you what you want, you choose
to take no notice of the fact
that nineteen times (to be exact)
I’ve told you no, get lost, rack off
skip out, you overbearing toff.
Retire your rusty pick-up truck.
Get on your bike, you leering schmuck.
Is there a problem with your hearing?
Is that the reason why you’re peering
in the direction of my breasts
like I’m the meal you’re having next?
Well guess what, mate. You’re out of luck.
I’ve got your mobile number, Chuck.
I say this with sincerity:
Big Macs have more integrity.
And just a little FYI:
not all girls want to eat your pie.
Matter of fact, I’d rather lie
in wet cement than kiss a guy.
That’s right, I’m queer. Yes, it’s a thing,
like Instagram or snorkelling.
And no, that’s not me asking you
to join me and my girlfriend—eww.
And while we’re on the topic here
another thing I should make clear.
Women owe you nothing, mate,
even when you’re on a date.
She’s hot for you? She’ll let you know.
Until she does, you back off, joe.
Pretending that she’s ‘coy’ is lame:
a sneaky, disrespectful game.
Read the room. It’s not so tough.
You can always Google stuff
to find out what words mean, e.g.
A poplar is a type of tree.
Coffee is a stimulant.
A mandolin’s an instrument.
The Golden Girls a funny show
on TV once. And no means no.

The Original Text

Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.