Casual readers usually neglect Christie’s poems collected in 1973. Unlike the Marple or Poirot mysteries, her poems such as “Picnic 11960” provide glimpses of her inner life.
Christie never lost her sense of her good life. She seems satisfied and ready to go on, which she did, dying in 1976 at eighty-six. And “Picnic 1960,” the volume’s final poem, suggests picnicky feelings about her age at seventy.
Symbolically, Christie situates her picnic site by the side of a busy road where she has parked her Rolls Royce. Spread out on her rug, she has opened her wicker and served tea, sausage rolls and oranges only slightly tinged with dust.
Time to go home? Strew the orange peel round,
Afternoon tea by the side of the road
That is the meal that I love,
Hundreds of cars rushing past all the time,
Sunshine and clouds up above!
Get out the chairs and set up the tea,
Serviettes, too, are a must,
Never a moment that’s quiet or dull,
Sausage rolls flavoured with dust!
Knowing Christie’s penchant for luxury, the basket’s simplicity was not Christie’s style. Indeed, hers would have been more upscale to keep picnic kit that Steven Runciman, British historian, remembers from a picnic on Dartmoor where they “drank champagne from silver goblets.”
Featured Image: A beach picnic without goblets.
See Agatha Christie. Poems. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1973; Charlotte Trumpler. Agatha Christie and Archaeology London: British Museum Press, 2001