Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Il scherzoso
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Hence, loathèd maxi-coat,
Of Saint-Laurent and Queen Victoria born
In discothèque forlorn,
Mid horrid scream and shriek and bawling throat,
Find out some uncouth flick
Where Clyde and Bonnie make the bullets sing,
Or suffragettes let fling;
There under straggling locks and great hat-brims
As droopy as thy hems,
In earnest dowdiness forever stick.

But stay, thou garment neat and pert,
Thou brisk, familiar mini-skirt,
Thy graceful flare above the knee
Sweet symbol of the truly free.
We middle-aged would gladly shear
An inch or two off every year:
No waste in that ― the clipped-off ends
Made neckties for our sons and friends.
But now comes maxidom ― alack!
We cannot glue those inches back.
Must we throw all our clothes away
Because the maxi's come to stay,
To keep at bay, both fore and aft,
The draught, but not the overdraft?
Wolf-whistles will be heard no more,
But wolves will scratch at every door.


In 1969 the 5-year reign of the mini-skirt came to an end.

Oxford Times, 5 December 1969
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983