Isis at the Christmas Do. Poem by Francis O’Hare

Isis at the Christmas Do

The usual forced festive yuletide scene
of Staff Welfare day. Beauty and Health
are both on the menu. A hit with the women,
jiving and having the time of their lives
in a glitter ball haze; Dancing Queen…

After a term trying to teach Shakespeare’s
dream of proud Mark Antony’s fall
my mind is astray on far Alexandria’s
lass unparalleled, all dull sense dispelled,
when she enters, enchanting my gaze,

until our great general’s words, Let Rome
in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
of the ranged empire… suddenly come
to my own lips, watching; her swaying hips,
her dress – sea and fire, just like Actium!

Thus, though I feign pure nonchalance,
how can I hold this unearthly young woman
in the civilised imposture of dance
when all I desire is to kiss her and lose
myself in her dark hair’s romance?

And all the while, as I pretend unconcern,
how can I sit at this restaurant table
and sip the white wine of decorum
when she sits across from me, crossing her legs,
capsizing my calm, like a siren?

For, despite the best of my Roman efforts,
I can’t stand, at this Christmas drinks-party,
to trade meaningless ‘banter’ with colleagues
whilst she floats through the room, like some Eastern perfume,
or Queen Cleopatra, that goddess!

Find Francis O’Hare, Falling into an O here

Francis O'Hare

About the contributor

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