Terry Collett


Can Can Dancer Gran.


I used to be a dancer
during World War 1
your paternal grandmother said

as she sat next to you
on the seat in her
back garden in London

and your grandfather
would come and watch
with his army friends

and afterwards
he'd come
to the stage door

with flowers or chocolates
or just stand there
with that awestruck look

on his face
and she looked
at the flowers

that your grandfather grew
along both sides
of the garden

and she smiled and said
Look at him now
sits in the same room

and says nothing
or moans about the bills
or how the country is run

or the noise of the traffic
by the front gate
and you sat there

on the seat
in the back garden
in your new suit

and with your hair
cropped short
and that fifteen year old

I'm bored as hell look
on your face and you said
Why did you give up dancing

you must have been good at it?
and as you looked
at your grandmother

with her white frizzy hair
and stocky build
you couldn't imagine her

as a dancer on a stage
with men gawping at her
especially not your soft spoken

quiet grandfather
who sat in his armchair
by the fireside

in a silent mood
occasionally reading a book
or giving that

I've seen too much
of mankind's foolery
kind of look

and your grandmother said
Well after we got married
I fell for your uncle Fred

and beside I wasn't that good
a dancer and your
grandfather didn't want

a wife of his
to be peered at
or have her legs

gawked at
by other men
and then she was silent

and watched
a white butterfly
go by

fluttering its wings
but
she said softly

getting up
from the seat
and doing a small

Can Can dance
the shows not over
until the fat lady sings.

Submitted: Thursday, May 24, 2012

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