Je M’Appelle Pam. Non. Merci.
(With apologies to John Keats)
Oh, what can ail thee, English girl?
In what pain d'you languish?
And why d'you wander Dover docks
Alone and in such anguish?
I see no lily on thy brow,
But it would be quite horrid
To have a flower sprouting
From the middle of your forehead.
You're looking pretty pale, though:
Your face is white and peaky,
Except where your mascara's run,
As there it looks quite streaky.
Say, hast thou met a faery youth,
Full handsome, suave and virile?
(I never did quite understand
That line about the squirrel.)
I met a man in Calais town,
Full beautiful, with va-va-voom—
A kind of Gallic version of
His hair was long, his chin was cleft.
Yes, he was quite a catch! Oh,
He had a handbag on his arm,
But somehow still looked macho.
He set me on his pacing steed,
His stallion proud and haughty—
And, yes, that is a metaphor
For something naughty.
And then he shut my tired, glad eyes
With kisses wild and hot
And told me in his language strange...
I don't know what.
I know no more of French, alas,
Than Tagalog or Lapp.
I'm just your average Brit, you see:
My language skills are crap.
Betwixt a pronoun, noun and verb
I never could distinguish
And when I'm in a foreign land
I just speak louder English.
I mucked about in French at school
Th'amount I learnt was small:
Just "Je m'appelle Pam", "Non", "Merci"
And that was all.
And then it hit me, suddenly,
Like a sharp kick in the vitals—
I'll never understand this man
Unless I have subtitles.
Things won't progress to marriage
Or even more than screwing.
My lazy, smug complacency
Has been my own undoing.
And so I wander Dover Docks,
Alone and in such anguish:
I've fallen for a gorgeous bloke
And I can't speak his language.