Poem of the Week: Maunders by Kingsley Amis

This is a poem about a beauty pageant, by Kingsley Amis.


In the Casino Ballroom,
   The judges disagree
---Some leading local ladies:
   Dai Evans: a J.P.---
On picking Miss Glamorgan
   (West) 1963.

'No, Mr Wynne---on poise, now,
   Miss Clydach just won't do;
And as for, well, her figure,
   It's too ... too much on view.
Your vote, please, Mr Evans,'
   Smiles Mrs Town Clerk Pugh.

Dai's seen in Clydach's hip-swing,
   Rich bosom and mean face,
Two threats: his own destruction
   By passion's fell embrace,
Or else (a bit more likely)
   Not getting to first base;

Whereas Pugh's time of danger
   Belongs to yesterday,
When choice was more than hedging,
   Reluctance than delay.
---Dai votes against Miss Clydach,
   Then waits his chance to say:

'This show's for youngsters, really.
   The dance'll soon begin,
So why don't you and I, love,
   Pop up the Newlands Inn,
And strengthen our acquaintance
   Over a spot of gin?'


In What Became of Jane Austen and Other Questions Amis describes his actual experience as a pageant judge (Miss Swansea Queen of Light) in a sketch called "Age Old Ceremony at Mumbles".

Favorite hobbies were the best. There was singing, dancing, swimming, dancing, ballet and ballroom dancing, dancing, swimming, and swimming and dancing. (Honest now, that is the order I copied down on the ruled feint lines of my Challenge tablet.)

Reminds me of in Spanish class when people have to do little presentations about themselves. Everyone always says they love nadar and bailar and... comprar.

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