More cognac for the little gentleman,
Monster or clown of the Moulin - quick -
The Can Can
Chorus with their jet net stockings
And their red heads rocking
Have brought their patrons flocking to the floor.
Prince-nez, glancing down from legs advancing
To five fingers dancing
Over a menu-card, scorn and adore
Prostitutes and skinny flirts
Who crossing arms and tossing skirts
High-kick - a quick
Eye captures all before they fall -
Quick lines, thick lines
Trace the huge ache under rouge.
"Cognac - more cognac!" Only the slop
Of a charwoman pushing her bucket and mop,
And the rattle of chairs on a table top.
The glass can fall no further. Time to stop
The charcoal's passionate waltzing with the hand.
Time to take up the hat, drag out the sticks,
And very slowly, like a hurt crab, stand:
With one wry bow to the vanished band,
Launch out with short steps harder than high kicks
Along the unspeakable inches of the street.
His flesh was his misfortune: but the feet
Of those whose flesh was all their fortune beat
Softly as the grey rain falling
Through his brain recalling
Marie, Annette, Jean-Claude and Marguerite.
(Jon Stallworthy (1935 - )
From Art and Artists Poems
Everyman's Library Pocket Poets
Discovered this poem in a bookshop in Saltaire, West Yorkshire, England and loved it immediately.
Thought i'd share it with you - Craig