Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Villanelle: on a wet summer
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O damp marquees where I have sat and sat,
O grandstands where it gurgles down the drain,
Why did I buy this garden party hat?

At the school sports I saw a water-rat;
At prize giving I put it on in vain;
O damp marquees where I have sat and sat!

At Lord’s they never even touched a bat,
At Wimbledon came flooding in the main;
Why did I buy this garden party hat?

At Ascot ― don’t remind me now of that ―
I suffered from acute rheumatic pain;
O damp marquees where I have sat and sat!

The vicarage flower-beds were all laid flat,
At Henley everyone was drenched again;
Why did I buy this garden party hat?

It cost ten guineas (all right, laugh, you cat!) ―
I might have known that it would pour with rain.
O damp marquees where I have sat and sat,
Why did I buy this garden party hat?


Oxford Times, 26 July 1963
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983