West Indies Lady, Grishkin de nos jours, has left a card
Inviting interest in her trade. She’s up to modern tricks,
Confusing me with talk of Frenching. Doubt I’m into that,
But might be tempted to enrol in paid-for discipline.
Bondage is listed but, Dear Lady, that’s not what I need,
I’d much prefer you tutored me on techniques of escape.
My malady consists, they say, of choosing prison’s bars,
Disdaining freedom; watch and see me throw away the key.
When asked to walk I’ve done so with a military step,
Restricted to the rhythms of four hundred years ago,
My doublet is a couplet and it nicely turns the verse,
The rasp of sagbut celebrates its regularity.
Forget my love of rules, they say, take to the air and fly
Unshackled, trusting to the chaos of mad liberty.
The lines may vary like the very isobars of life,
Unsettled as I am today, tomorrow I may shine
West Indies Lady, tell me more of how this discipline
Of yours works in a world where freedom is perforce prescribed,
Where ruleless rules can guide and airiness, somehow, contain,
And all for fifty quid, up front, and on the mantelpiece.