No, don’t dismiss me with that donnish
headmasterly “Yes?” This will take longer
than your perfunctory attempt to admonish
will allow: you’ll need something stronger
than that to get me out of your hair!
I’m sitting down unbidden. And tell that clutch
of hangers-on to buzz off: they neither impress
nor intimidate. I’m not going to be frightened
by their silly display of unctuous saintliness –
the sense of the comic being heightened
by their sillier haloes, which they touch
ever so lightly and often – I mean, I thought
vanity plagued only us poor sods!
But look, they’re like sleek diplomats
preening like midget gods,
daintily fingering their silk hats!
I mean - no offence, but what a lot!
All right, all right…you can lower those brows.
Keep it for the less pertinacious kind,
the ones who are simply happy to be here,
the docile sorts not much inclined
to pick your brains out of fear:
it just might scare those boring cows…
But I’m an unrepentant pest, as you now know.
And it’s a bit late to change one’s spots,
if you take my meaning. Besides,
it’s you I wanted to see, not the fleshpots
of your domain; your guides
would do admirably for that show…
Oh yes… Where was I? I’m almost through. And lest
you’re wondering I’m not some nut. It’s just
that I have a couple of things to ask:
curiosae, really, buried in epochal dust.
Who was the Man in the Iron Mask?
And what happened on the Mary Celeste?