Julia Griffin: Up The Wall

The lady with the eyes of sloe
And luscious silver fur
Was hung a hundred years ago
To please a connoisseur.
But even connoisseurs must die;
And now, alas, her fate
Has left her stranded, high and dry,
A chattel of the State.
No more do Taste and Wit decree
The order of the room:
Now Date and Nationality
Rule what hangs next to whom;
And so the sloe-eyed lady, meant
For balls and fêtes-champêtres,
Abuts an abattoir in Ghent,
With blood and guts, etcetera.

And she thinks:
I hate it here, I hate it here,
I hate this ghastly century:
My Hermitage of yesteryear
Is now a penitentiary.
It isn’t fair, it isn’t fair,
I cannot overstate it:
That ox is more than I can bear –
I hate it, O I hate it!

Now in the depths of her chagrin,
Madame has missed (so far)
A fellow coarse of eye and skin
Inside the abattoir.
He is the Butcher, rubicund
And gingerishly tressed,
Included as a ready fund
Of human interest.
Congenitally impolite,
His arms imbrued with gore,
He ogles upwards to his right
And mouths the Dutch for “Cor!”
Milady, regal as a swan
And pearly as its feathers,
He pictures, first with nothing on,
And then in grimy leathers.

And he thinks:
I love it here, I love it here:
I’ve done a good day’s labour;
So now I think I’ll have a leer
At Lady Muck my neighbour.
She’s just my type, she’s just my type.
She may think she’s above it;
But I shall have her serving tripe –
I love it, O I LOVE IT!