Meet Mrs Godley, well to-do
Victorian in sober blue
and not content to chat and sit
No, Mrs Godley does her bit.
Or tries to, but it’s rather hard
her Peter joined the Old Boy’s Guard
her son went off to man a tank
but no one wants her in the ranks.
It seems a woman’s work in war
is more of what it was before:
ironing, cooking, washing, scrubbing
while they all give the Bosch a drubbing.
A zestful woman in a time
where bus drivers were old and blind
before they ever wore a dress.
No voice in church, committee-less
and wasted, really, like her friends.
So at her threadbare tether’s end
our Mrs Godley takes a stand
and grasps the war with eager hands.
Full-bodied like a vintage port
she scours the streets of Dovercourt
with firm resolve and hawk-like eyes
in search of snooping German spies.
And who’s this here? Suspicious pair
all nordic hue and flaxen hair,
peculiar manner, funny hats
no Englishman would dress like that!
You there boy, now are you willing?
Help your country! Earn a shilling!
Good lad. Operation Rhine:
go ask that brace of chaps the time.
She sends him with a zealous push
then darts behind a nearby bush
to listen as they answer him
and when they do the news is grim!
A stuttered mess of Zees and Vees
so Mrs Godley’s out the trees
flag wagging her white parasol
to fetch a military patrol.
Here they come now, almost quickly
(asthmatic, flat-feet, over fifty)
whistles blowing, touch of flap
inexpertly they seize chaps.
But later down the local nick
our heroine is feeling sick:
Belgians, Madam, no need for fuss,
best leave the espionage to us.
Your efforts might be better spent
on errands with a gentler bent.
So Mrs Godley set off home
embarrassed, patronised, alone
to measure out her life in jams
and wait for tragic telegrams.
L U K E W R I G H T
@lukewrightpoet || lukewright.co.uk
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