Genteel Teachers

Alison Charlton

Miss Shaw, stately and genteel,
Headmistress to us 1950s girls;
Decrees that we, at table,
Converse with her
On topics with some depth.
No silly schoolgirl gossip

Miss Olsen, Miss Botterell
And Miss Rose,
(who wears hand knitted suits -
One red, one green),
Patrol the boarding school
To oversee our dreams.
Those dried up sticks,
Ever alert to detect
Lesbian tendencies,
Of which we ’50s girls
Are ignorant.

Key-keeper, house-keeper, health-keeper;
Miss Pillow, monitors our bowels,
Administers castor oil to truthful girls;
Of which there are none.

It is whispered
That Miss Shaw’s beau
Was killed upon the Somme.
But what of Miss Olsen,
Miss Botterell and Miss Rose?
Were there lovers?
Gentlemen with whom to promenade?
Bring home to tea?
Did grief and sorrow
Cause that bloom of hairy moles
Upon Miss Pillow’s crumpled face?
Oh thoughtless nasty girls:
We call her ‘Warthog’.

Young men went out
Did not return
To Miss Shaw, Miss Olsen,
Miss Botterell and Miss Rose,
Who gave their unlived lives
To cruel pimply girls.