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The Gentlemanís Companion (unpoetic exercise)

by NinaLara 

Posted: 14 September 2006
Word Count: 110


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We drove to Bradford to pick her up.

Madame showed us the parlour,
with its high red marble mantelpiece,
where the sisters danced their cage
in monochrome bodies.

Released,
they shot past us:
torpedoes in silk stockings
nipping each otherís backs.

You chose her
because she had the daintiest
daisy face
and neat black ears.

She stumbled over us
in the car on the way home
and her face grew on me
like a white velvet slipper

with grey pearl-button eyes.
When the children have gone to bed
your Bull Terrier piglet
snuffles us for a nibble

and I praise my
generosity
for allowing this other
Lady in the house.









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Comments by other Members



Nell at 14:05 on 14 September 2006  Report this post
Hi Nina,

This is delicious. Love the suggestion of the bordello in the title and those first stanzas, the lines ...her face grew on me /
like a white velvet slipper...
and the way the ideas at the beginning come to fruition at the end.

One little typo - a stray apostrophy in the third line.

I can almost feel her soft little body - have you given her a name yet?


Nell.




NinaLara at 15:44 on 14 September 2006  Report this post
Thanks Nell - for the comments and proof reading! The prose this came from was 'A Brief History' of the bull Terrier on the Bull Terrier Club web site, where it says:

The ďNew Bull TerrierĒ first appeared in its present form at a Birmingham show in May 1862. It was shown by James Hinks, a dog dealer, who is generally accepted as the original breeder of the Bull Terrier, whose family has being associated with Bull Terriers until the present day.

Hinks would no doubt have used many breeds and types of dog in his quest to breed his "Gentlemanís Companion", but it seems likely that the Bulldog, the (now extinct) English White Terrier, and the Dalmatian. were the main contributors. His preference was for a white animal and it seems that the dog fancy of that time were in agreement, as his "White Cavalier" quickly gained popularity, and was successful at the early dog shows which were rapidly becoming popular at that time.


I'm afraid my imagination ran wild having read this, so I didn't really follow the rules of the exercise very closely!

<Added>

p.S. We've called her Lottie

joanie at 19:37 on 14 September 2006  Report this post
Hi Nina. I'm not sure whether this is better with the prose first, before reading, or after. By the time I read this, you had already replied to Nell, so I have more insight. I love it. I could go through and substitute 'Menabilly, farmyard, etc. etc and I'm back there. The emotions and descriptions come across beautifully and I love the last line, especially the capital L.

I echo Nell's gorgeous.

Joan

<Added>

Sorry! - Nell's delicious!

NinaLara at 11:05 on 15 September 2006  Report this post
Thanks Joanie! I'm glad I've done little Lottie justice (though she's not so little now!)

Nell at 14:03 on 16 September 2006  Report this post
Joan, Nina, am I missing a literary reference? I associate Menabilly with Daphne du Maurier/Rebecca? but where does the farmyard come in?

Nell.

<Added>

And Lottie is a perfect name!

joanie at 14:53 on 16 September 2006  Report this post
Sorry, Nell. It's a long story ...... no, it isn't a literary reference, it's far more inportant!

We were on holiday about 20 years ago in Cornwall. We parked the car in the farmer's field and walked through the farmyard at Menabilly towards the beach. There was a blackboard with 'Collie pups for sale'. Our young daughter was desperate for us to have one and I insisited that it was totally and utterly impossible. On our return from the beach, my husband asked the farmer if they were border collies; he said "Come and have a look."
Here the story ends. We had Ben (or 'Big Boy' as the farmer's children called him) for 15 fantastic years.

....and Menabilly is now very close to my heart. We saw the gulls swooping after the tractor there, which is exactly what inspired Daphne du Maurier's short story, 'The Birds', which was, of course, made into the Hitchcock film.

Joan

Nell at 15:46 on 16 September 2006  Report this post
Joan, thanks. They steal our hearts, but give theirs so willingly in return.

Nell.

NinaLara at 19:13 on 16 September 2006  Report this post
Lovely story Joanie - I look forward to the poem!

joanie at 19:21 on 16 September 2006  Report this post
Thanks, Nina. That's a good idea!

joanie

Xenny at 14:35 on 19 September 2006  Report this post
Hey Nina,

I thought I'd already commented, but I must have just thought to but not written anything. It's a lovely poem. The image of 'torpedoes in silk stockings' is particularly perfect!

Xenny

Okkervil at 20:23 on 20 September 2006  Report this post
Heh, this has a wonderful wry smile to it, not tripped up by sloppy phrasing, or looseness of any particular sort. I doubt I'd find anything to change even if I squunt very closely at it. Enjoyed it muchly!

Hm!

James

NinaLara at 08:38 on 21 September 2006  Report this post
Thanks James and Xenny! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Elsie at 19:42 on 22 September 2006  Report this post
Nina - this is probably not a particularly helpful comment - but I'm chuckling at myself - by stanza 2 I was still convinced these were some kind of birds - and heard myself say aloud 'ears?' (I've been working too hard!) From then it was ooh and aah all the way. Very nice.

<Added>

Maybe it was because I thought the cage was ON the mantelpiece, Duh. It wouldn't fit, would it?


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