The Waterhouse Ladies

from An Apogee

My cousin Angie had a child,
an offspring of the faerie wild,
that when she came down from Belair,
the aunts were wont to worship hair.

But she would sooner bend the knee
before some painter quite deceased
and ask why she was graceful not
like the Lady of Shalot.

Poor child! she was forced to go
fortnightly off to Bendigo
to have impressed upon her there
Aunt Tessa, in her underwear.

The spriteling would not strut her stuff
and wondered that it was enough
for dresses to the waistline reach
when they were not off to the beach.

We found her once in saintly pose
before Ophelia comatose
beseeching maiden in her grace
bring decency to Adam's race -

but stopped abruptly in her prayer
and saw Aunt Tessa laughing there
at the advances of her age -
and yet, for that, she was a sage.

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