Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Olympic Girl

The sort of girl I like to see
Smiles down from her great height at me.
She stands in strong, athletic pose
And wrinkles her retroussé nose.
Is it distaste that makes her frown,
So furious and freckled, down
On an unhealthy worm like me ?
Or am I what she likes to see ?
I do not know, though much I care.
ειθε γενοιμην . . . would I were
(Forgive me, shade of Rubert Brooke)
An object fit to claim her look.
Oh ! would I were her racket press'd
With hard excitement to her breast
And swished into the sunlit air
Arm-high above her tousled hair,
And banged against the bounding ball
" Oh ! Plung ! " my tauten'd strings would call,
" Oh ! Plung ! my darling, break my strings
For you I will do brilliant things."
And when the match is over, I
Would flop beside you, hear you sigh;
And then, with what supreme caress,
You'ld tuck me up into my press.
Fair tigress of the tennis courts,
So short in sleeve and strong in shorts,
Little, alas, to you I mean,
For I am bald and old and green.

- John Betjeman

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