The Tailors’ Ball

This is a poem about love, spontaneity and playfulness. Somehow our current spontaneity is actually rooted in the past, springing from seeds we planted then.


The drama above the table

At Mrs Minsky’s

Had been played out before

And was all smoked salmon

And Cream Cheese

There was a Cabernet Sauvignon

And a vast number of crumbs

There was music

And much chat

About the state of the railway

And the ever cheapening quality

Of bespoke tailoring.

But below the table

A new drama was about to begin:

Henry Reuben, 76

15 stone and climbing

His wife Betty on one side

Staring over the roll mop herring

At Leah Goldberg

And her rake thin husband Eddie

It began for no reason

And no reason is a good reason.

Leah’s long left leg

Soft but varicose like a fork of lightning

Was rubbing gently against what she thought

Was a hard table leg

But it was no table leg

It was Henry’s leg

Hard from years of measuring inside calves

It had never lost its strength

And it responded, that leg,

For this was going to be a new phase

In the lives of the Goldberg’s and the Reubens

The legs pressed together

And Henry and Leah felt stirrings they hadn’t felt

Since they had kissed

Back in 42

At the Tailors’ Ball.

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