Here’s an ancient photo,
the me of here and now impressed
at how, in a frugal time, those mums
(other mums, I mean, more clued up,
more ambitious than my own)

contrived red Indians, two cowboys
and a tiny bride – half- familiar
faces, grinning or else gawping out
from underneath the Arch that takes you

down our backs, and me then ( just short of five)
dismayed to learnt it’s Fancy Dress,
so that my Aunt Maud, to dry the tears,
ransacks the tallboy drawers…

and yes, this is me, one sulky face,
topped off by a limp crepe-paper crown
and here’s fat Doris Mylott – cute
in a furry little tail, big bunny ears –

and that bossy Beryl from
the shop, all done up in a frilly box,
a gorgeous living doll – baby pink I now
recall; also why they snapped us
underneath the Arch – it tippled down;
all day. As well.

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