Posted in Uncategorized

Describe a Woman Using the Contents of Her Purse

Seaside CafeI’m not sure why it came to mind, but this morning I was thinking about something I wrote several years ago. During my very first writing course  I picked an assignment out of Dorothea’s magic box asking me to write 500 words describing a woman using the contents of her purse. I was stumped at first, but once I got rolling, this thing kind of wrote itself.

It’s one of the first pieces I ever had published and I do like it because of that. I also think it’s a whole lot of fun to read.


Myrtle and May, on a very fine day,

Decided to go out for tea.

They chose a cafe, not so far away,

That had a nice view of the sea.

Because they were able, they chose the best table,

To enjoy the lovely view there.

They ordered their tea, Earl Grey it would be,

And divided a chocolate éclair.

They started off talking, then really got rocking,

Cov’ring all things under the sun.

May drank her tea down, but her face had a frown

When she saw Myrtle hadn’t begun.

May said to Myrt, “My dear, are you hurt?

Or is your problem some other issue?”

Myrtle said, “No, I just have a cold,

And I think I may need a tissue.”

Well, May didn’t lag, she dug in her bag

To see if a tissue was there.

She found a key to her home, a brush, and a comb,

And, in it, a strand of white hair.

A small book of photos diverted May’s motive,

She started to thumb through the pages.

“Oh Myrt, if you please, you must look at these!

It’s my grandchildren’s growing-­up stages.”

But, Myrt made a sniffle, a sort of a whiffle;

Wiped her nose on her hand, with a glower.

So May dug away, only to say,

“Look at that! My very first flower.

Now how d’ you suppose, that bit of old rose

Got into my handbag today?”

Myrtle glared straight ahead with a cool look that said,

‘Just get back to business, old May.’

May got back to the issue and searched for the tissue,

But instead she found an old card.

She tried for a minute to read the verse in it,

But reading blurred print was too hard.

She scrabbled about and then gave a shout,

“Eureka! I’ve got something here.”

She pulled out a hanky, all lipsticky and dank(y).

Myrt said, “Don’t bring that thing near!”

So May tried once more, found a knob to a door,

“I wonder what that’s all about?”

There were half-­rolls of candy, and denture cream, handy,

If her teeth were about to fall out.

May looked all around and she said with a frown,

“Myrt, I can’t seem to find it, my dear.”

Then, quick as a rocket, she reached in her pocket.

“Land’s sake!” she exclaimed, “It’s in HERE!”


* * * * *


Phyllis writes words: words for stories, and words for books. Phyllis writes words for blogs too.

9 thoughts on “Describe a Woman Using the Contents of Her Purse

  1. What a fun poem. When I used to train consultants on projective research techniques, I’d often do a purse/wallet dump (purses were more fun, wallets were riskier). They asked me to dump my own out and I had my car keys, my husband’s keys to my car, 3 expired credit cards plus their current equivalent, at least a dozen pens and about 8 tubes of lip gloss. No tissues.

Leave a Reply