The Cactus


Words & Music: Jake Thackray

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When I and my new love, my true love, got married,
Our love, our true love, very nearly miscarried -
And one of the chief, the contributory factors
Was when my dear wife fell in love with a cactus.

On our wedding day my Auntie Ivy gave us both a little pot,
A plastic what-not,
Which contained a spiky cactus. As a present it was tactless,
But my wife, my life, my golden girl, she loved it from the start.
Though it was old and mouldy she took it to her very heart.

My Snow White, my Aphrodite, my pocket Venus!
'Twas then that this venomous thing came between us.
When we had so much to delect and distract us
Oh why did we cherish a perishing cactus?

At first she just felt sorry for this horrid, squalid, lumpish parasite.
A rash compassion
For her feelings got beyond her. Every day she grew still fonder
Till this sickly, tickly, little squirt had got the household quashed:
Rent unpaid; my tea not made; my shirts, my socks not washed.

My poor heart was bleeding from multiple fractures:
A dupe and a boob and a cuckold to a cactus.
She gave up her duties, her food and her slumber
For this potted hedgehog, this son of a cucumber!

In spite of all her care, her lavish blandishments, the creature still declined.
It pined for something.
It defied all kinds of fertiliser. It began to fade away and die.
And only I knew why; I recognised the state.
And it's a fact that what that cactus lacked was a prickly little soul-mate.

The feeling of grief's not confined to us only:
Like me this poor vegetable was just lonely,
For they need exactly those things which attract us.
So I went and bought him a little lady cactus.

We placed them spiky cheek to spiky cheek upon our kitchen window sill
And then withdrew. We knew
True love would run its course - and we perforce had something similar to do.
And, truth to tell, well, well within the hour
My auntie's antisocial plant put out a happy cactus flower.

True love is in bloom now, and everything's very nice:
No thorns in our fireside, no spikes up our paradise.
My household is flourishing now, and in fact I
Have dozens of kids and a hundred little cacti.


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