at the age of 5
Let’s face it! The princesses
sauntering down the page
are more than a trifle bawdy;
their bare breasts spiral
and their jewelled nipples.
This one is shaped like a piano;
spiders and butterflies flame
in the gauzy nets of her petticoat;
her eyes are blue bordered green;
she whistles shrilly between her teeth;
her square feet splay to the left.
This other has a tubular gown,
blue with a purple, picot trim;
aphids and ladybirds cling with sticky feet
to the lavender strings of her hair;
she has three pink lashes.
Both are very happy, thank you,
with their odours and secretions.
They always push their luck.
At night they sleep, each one,
with a hand on her own soft crotch.
They are always smiling.
From HEARTWOOD (Caxton Press, 1989)
© Bernadette Hall