The Prime Minister’s Visit


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)


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