A Good Girl

It is very hampering, a good upbringing,
all those Broderie Anglais socks and wide sashed dresses,
and the injunctions to speak only when spoken to,
(but never with your mouth full,) Don’t, ever!
Church three times on Sunday, stifling in the odour of sanctity,
later I realised the smell was a mixture of raincoats and perspiration.
Don’t run, walk, keep your knees together, pull your skirt down!
Or bad may befall, worse may happen, take good care.
Be careful not to mix with the wrong people, be wary of strangers,
for fear of being taken up by the White Slave Trade!

So what did I do? As soon as opportunity allowed
I wore high heels and painted my face and eyes
and loosed my hair to fall in dangling waves,
danced through the night, went out with strangers,
smoked Balkan Sobranie while drinking gin and lime,
tangled with some very odd and dangerous people,
stayed out late with married men and homosexuals,
and, when worse did befall, it didn’t seem too bad,
I quite enjoyed it, and the sadness only came
when I knew, through all my bad behaviour,
I’d been looking for love, and they, they were looking
for lust. A quick shag and forget it. That’s all.
It was years before I got over my good upbringing
and discovered love.


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