The Prime Minister’s Visit
The Prime Minister to see you Sir.
Does the Prime Minister play bridge?
Oh, not here Sir –
In Iceland, I think.
Is that a floor cat slipping or a tap dripping?
Our Prime Minister collects clocks –
Antique ones at that.
Ah, what could be more fitting than a floor cat slipping.
Or was it — a phone ringing?
It’s the Prime Minister at the door Sir —
And he’s carrying a box.
Are you sure it’s not just the floor cat slipping —
Or a newspaper clipping?
Perhaps he plays tennis —
It’s all the rage in America, you know.
Was that the floor cat slipping —
Or was I dreaming?
This poem is reminiscent of a gentler era when tennis was just taking off in America and telephones were as rare then as floor cats are today. In a time less rushed, you might expect a visit from the Prime Minister. Some things, however, have remained the same — our Prime Minister does collect antique clocks and in Iceland, the Prime Minister still drops in for a friendly game of bridge. The image of the floor cat was taken from one of e.e. cummings’ poems. I like the idea of him (the cat, not mr. cummings) slipping in and out, between the lines of the poem. (3-5-1995)
Return to Poetry Index