Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Cinderella spire

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Ask all our clever brain-washed people
Which is their favourite Oxford steeple:
It would occur to none of them
To sing the praise of Wesley Mem.
Our snobbish, blank and blinkered eyes
Know what to like, what to despise;
St. Michael's Street is not a view
That purists would applaud as U, —
But U and non-U can go hang
For Lim Chan-Hong from far Panang.
Chan-Hong paints beauty thin and tall
Attenuated up the wall:
Flamingoes' stilt-legged, snake-necked grace,
High palm trees brushing outer space, —
So naturally his taste inclines
To elastic neo-gothic lines.
His brilliant oriental eye
More vaunted buildings passes by
And chooses rather to admire
This, Oxford's Cinderella spire,
And makes it, with his subtle art,
A shape of joy to wring the heart.
And so it comes into my mind
(An artist of much humbler kind)
To take my cue from Lim Chan-Hong
And celebrate Wes. Mem. in song.

In an Oxford exhibition of the work of the Malaysian artist Lim Chan-Hong the only Oxford scene was of Wesley Memorial Church seen from Cornmarket along St. Michael's Street.

Oxford Times, 14 October 1966