The Last Dance

This poem is a homage to one of my current favourites, Tarantella by the marvellous Hilaire Belloc (1870 – 1953). It uses the same frame and structure with a distinct reference to more recent events!

I listened to the original version, actually sung by Belloc which is very upbeat and jolly, however in my reading of this piece there is a very sinister tone. The title of this piece is ‘The Last Dance’ in reference to the original title Tarantella.

Do you remember when you got in,
Mr Johnson?
Do you remember when you got in?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw upon your heading,
And the coughs and the sneeze of a deadly disease,
And the party wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young brexiteers
(And the lies on the dark memoranda)?
Do you remember when you got in, Mr Johnson,
Do you remember when you got in?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young brexiteers
Who hadn’t really got a penny,
And who weren’t paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the Din?
And the Hip! Hop! Hap!
Of the clap at 7
Of the hands to be washing and the swirl
Of the last girl gone, Theresa, chancing,
Glancing, dressing like someone’s mother and
Dancing, oh how she danced

How through fields of wheat she advanced
Lacking and back tracking,
Snapping at a clapper and the spin
Out and in —
And the Tong, Tang, Ting of the old right wing.
Do you remember when you got in,
Mr Johnson?
Do you remember when you got in?

Never more;

Mr Johnson,

Never more.

Only the high resigning horde:

And the letters were a torrent at the door.

No sound

In the walls of the Halls where falls

The tread

Of the feet of the dead to the ground

No sound:

But the boom

Of the far, far fall like Doom.

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