FALL OF A FLAPPER
Ophelia started her singing again,
and the Queen was inclined to be anxious:
nothing, of course, could persuade her
to just knock it off: that Swiss finishing school
had advised her she had a fine voice,
and the corridors echoed with 'Willow Tit Willow'.
Gilbert and Sullivan - well, it surprised us,
of course - I mean, that fellow Gilbert…
Later, she went for a swim, as she used to do
after a few tall sloe gins - and of course
some damn fool at the school had said
she had some style. Free-style, of course,
wasn't what she did well, and the weather
was nippy: result - there were flowers
all round the chinoiserie. Everyone thought
it was tasteful, and Kierkegaard preached
about being resigned, and the coffin swam off
like a boat in a flower-filled stream.
Her mother, of course, went to pieces,
and afterwards ordered a Thorvaldssen bust
for the hall, - but he worked from a photo.
We missed her, of course, at the Flapper's Ball,
though round the palace for weeks
at least things were more peaceful.
Michael Sharkey © 1998
PO Box 513 Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia
- from The Way It Is: Selected Poems, 1984
(Darling Downs Institute Press, Toowoomba, Qld)
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