Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Washing day at Mansfield
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I hang my washing on King Charles's bank,
And yet I often wonder what he'd think
To see a non-conformist of low rank
On such an errand from her kitchen sink.

For Cromwell's face adorns our SCR,
And Hampden glorifies the Chapel glass,
And sneaking royalist thoughts I push afar
For fear of Pym's long shadow in the grass;

But Mansfield parsons don't appear in Crockford,
And Mansfield College doesn't have much money,
And trying to be a puritan in Oxford
Is always hard and seldom funny.

Oh, Cromwell was a good true man for sure,
And not as warty as his portrait paints,
And Charles was good, a pious man and pure,
Compelled to be a Martyr by the Saints.

Prince of the Royal Stuarts, yes, and you,
Prince of the Parliament, you've me to thank
On Mondays if we heal a breach or two -
I hang my washing on King Charles's bank.


Undated: before 1970.  King Charles's bank is a civil war earthwork forming the southern boundary of Mansfield College.