That Fellow’s Got to Swing…

when she was three

her mother dressed her

in polly flinders frocks

with little white socks

and patent leather shoes –

her blonde hair

hanging loosely about her shoulders

she would then gather her friends

around the living room

and have her daughter recite

a poem most grievous,

a poem to excite

their minds and emotions –

especially when narrated by one

so young…

as her mother looked on with pride

at her precocious child,

the child, hands behind her back,

a serious look on her face,

paced the room and intoned…

He did not wear his scarlet coat, 
For blood and wine are red, 
And blood and wine were on his hands 
When they found him with the dead, 
The poor dead woman whom he loved, 
And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men 
In a suit of shabby grey; 
A cricket cap was on his head, 
And his step seemed light and gay; 
But I never saw a man who looked 
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked 
With such a wistful eye 
Upon that little tent of blue 
Which prisoners call the sky, 
And at every drifting cloud that went 
With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain, 
Within another ring, 
And was wondering if the man had done 
A great or little thing, 
When a voice behind me whispered low, 
“That fellow’s got to swing.”

Yet each man kills the thing he loves 
By each let this be heard, 
Some do it with a bitter look, 
Some with a flattering word, 
The coward does it with a kiss, 
The brave man with a sword!

then the little girl would stop,

curtsey, and float away…

yet to this day, those words

stay with her, have colored her whole life

with doubt and suspicion —

Yet each man kills the thing he loves 
By each let this be heard, 
Some do it with a bitter look, 
Some with a flattering word, 
The coward does it with a kiss, 
The brave man with a sword!

**italicized words from “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” by Oscar Wilde

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: