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(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

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Swan Dive

The windows were open
The night air was cold,
The curtains were blowing
Like ribbons of gold,
We stood there forever
Both Henry and me,
The night his wife dived
Off the balcony.

We looked at each other
We each shook our head,
And waited to hear if
The poor girl was dead,
I looked at my watch
It was just after three,
When Gwendoline dived
Off the balcony.

I waited a moment, then:
'What did I say?
Was that a faux pas about
You in Calais?
Or did she take umbrage
When I poured the tea?
Is that why she jumped
Off the balcony? '

'Don't think for a moment,
Old chap, ' he had said,
'I thought she had mumbled
And stumbled to bed!
She'd said she had someone
Tomorrow to see,
So why would she dive
Off the balcony? '

We walked very gingerly
Out through the door,
And peered on down from
The fifty-sixth floor,
I thought I could see a small
Splat by a tree,
Just where she had dived
Off the balcony.

Could that be your Gwendoline,
There on the ground?
That's funny, she dived all
That way, made no sound!
Not one little scream -
Did you hear? ' - 'Not me! '
When Gwendoline dived
Off the balcony.

The police galloped up
By the lift, through the doors,
'That splat in the courtyard, sir,
Could it be yours? '
Then Henry admitted that
It could well be,
His wife, who had dived
Off the balcony!

They made us go down with
A bucket and mop:
'Clean up every vestige,
Remove every drop!
You can't go round leaving
Wives haphazardly,
Whenever they dive
Off the balcony! '

They made us feel humble,
We lowered our heads,
I picked up her armpits,
He mopped up her legs,
But bits of her weren't where
In truth, they should be,
When Gwendoline dived
Off the balcony.

Much later he told me that
Wives one and two,
Had left in the very same way,
I said, 'True? '
It seems Gwendoline had been
Wife number three,
Who'd taken a dive
Off the balcony.

Now Henry has married
Again, number four,
He's moved his apartment down
To the ground floor,
He locks all his windows
And tells Stephanie,
'Don't ever you dive like
Wives one, two and three! '

3 June 2009

Submitted: Wednesday, June 03, 2009


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