Charlotte Peters Rock

(20th century / England)

Mrs Batchelor


Down amongst the terraced houses
sturdy Mrs Batchelor..
No..sturdy isn't quite the word to choose
Sturdier than slimmer maybe
flowing down the street
twenty-two or four stone - if an ounce
Down amongst the terraced houses
flowing Mrs Batchelor
perambulated fatly past the shops

She couldn't stop along the street
until she reached the fourth one
the first - and many others - wouldn't serve
Her bills had grown enormous there
mostly gone unpaid
..but owners moved eventually and
new ones took a while to know her
flowing Mrs Batchelor
with half a dozen Mothers Pride a day

At her rear her rear-guard guarded
sturdy Mrs Batchelor
her canines most proficient on three legs
What hand removed the fourth..bred them
wobbling on three
black-avised with glitter-eyes cross-cast
was never ascertained by us
Flowing Mrs Batchelor
perambulated vanguard to the shops

All her children..eighteen? ..nineteen?
once had joined her on this quest
eating virgin spongy white they carried
until foster homes and borstals
took them all away
returning them occasionally in suits
Down amongst the terraced houses
flowing Mrs Batchelor
pawned - for cash - and sent them back in rags

Several daughters..thirteen..fourteen?
slept with men beneath her roof
sharing virgin spongy white-legged lust
Sturdily with whey-faced brats
matted hair unwashed
saw their babies sickeningly gone
From amongst the terraced houses
flowing Mrs Batchelor
smiled upon her children from the step

In a row of terraced houses
empty but for her great tribe
stripping burning selling all the bits
taking doors from inside..outside
wood from floor and wall
joists chopped up to make the fireglow warm
Lead and slates from terraced houses
flowing Mrs Batchelor
sold for food to keep the bellies full

Matriarch she worried daily
Tiny husband slept in jail
then returned to spongy white-legged warmth
Back to jail - but not forgotten
Yet another child
enormous baby for the nation
From amongst the terraced houses
flowing Mrs Batchelor
freely loosed her babies on the world

Thar she blows! they called out after
More ungainly than the whale
sinking galleon of white-legged trust
hopelessly - and banned from buses
taunted to the end -
eating barriers of bread and loss
left with dogs in terraced houses
flowing Mrs Batchelor
kindly shared her bread her bed her home

Submitted: Friday, February 06, 2009

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