Swiftly fetch a heavy spring,
we’re in the reign of an inimitable
Marie-Antoinette of a chaperone.
With scent bottle and lavender bag
two mean-little pawns are flung to their unmaking –
a near thing from the artist’s impression, the brand.
We must swear off past times,
less and less Horse Guards,
silver carriages and other frippery.
From the rumbling thunder of Dover port’s motors
we’ll board with a menacing gale
and the chain locker crankshafts
will reel cocuswood paddles
to the inscrutable Swiss village of Glion.
Among the Trial Men a father budges,
threads of two-penny grey, lock up walls
seem to crinkle, a turned look is on his face.
They find him when he gambles a snivel
with poisoners and hoodlum thieves
and crack him when he tries to love
in the decay of his flowering.