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Home | 2018

To Charlotte While Shaving

Posted by Thersites on UTC 2018-03-01 07:24.

The title poem from William Bridges-Adams' (1889-1965) small book of poetry, To Charlotte While Shaving: And Other Rhymes (1957).

Here dedicated by us to dim Theresa May, who is clearly the model for 'duller Joan'.

To Charlotte While Shaving

Charlotte: from whose too enterprising womb

Sprang our dull Edward and our duller Joan,

Twin fruit of sunless days at Ilfracombe—

O limp coitus when such seed was sown!—

Charlotte: I take small pleasure in our young:

Do they rejoice? I find it hard to bear;

Do they repine? My withers are not wrung;

And if you ate them, Charlotte, should I care?

The little flat foot slapping on the stair,

The little muffin face, the sticky kiss—

These joys withheld I doubt if I should miss;

I might perhaps be glad they were not there.

Charlotte, we do at least know what is what.

Stand them against the wall, love, side by side;

Snuffling, myopic, cabriole-legged and squat:

Great heaven, wife, what is there here for pride?

I do not ask for wit, or poise, or beauty—

Nor could one ask, looking at me and you.

But in God’s name, how will they do their duty

In that dim station He has called them to?

Edward (at Pembroke?) will not get his Blue;

Joan (at St Hugh’s?) may clock a lenient Third:

What can we find the horrid pair to do

That will not be uncalled-for and absurd?

Edward, BA, games master at The Gables,

Willing but costive, spotty, not too clean?

Joan, taking notes at rich men’s board-room tables,

Leaving moist handkerchiefs where she has been?

Or shall we launch them on less charted waters

Where adenoids are looked for and admired?

Shall Edward bleat of art to errant daughters,

Or Joan dance, puffing, till the Left are tired?

What hope have they, so mothered and so sired,

But to hand on the ineffectual flame

Of half-lit torches to the dreadful same

Sort as themselves, virgin and undesired?

If I had had one grand, almighty Beano,

And had stopped thinking how much one should spend,

If you had been a Whore in a Casino

(Think of it, Charlotte) and my Lady Friend,

Then these our young, of love and mischance begotten,

Had stood erect, braced for all winds that blow:

Will you confess that Ilfracombe was rotten?

Can you deny that I have told you so?

Thus far the might-have-been; but let them go:

Theirs is the weird, and they can damned well dree it—

Nay, you are dull, sweet Charlotte, as I see it,

And I am far from being bright, I know.