Kelly Scott Franklin


Selections from “A Curious Alphabet of Hats”


A halo hat? Well bless my soul,
our first one’s called the aureole.
How sweetly it surrounds the face,
bestowing elegance and grace
on modern duchesses and queens
in photographs and magazines.
That circular geometry
may hint at hagiography,
but halo hats, however quaint,
do not make anyone a saint.


Haberdashers, it is true,
are hardly known for derring-do,
or swashbuckling, or hurling stones,
or smashing heads and dragon bones.

But let that man exalted be,
that Hercules of hattery,
whose name no history ever says:
all hail the man who made the fez.


A bullfighter goes to the ring
in gold all finely spun;
his suit out-glitters everything
beneath the Spanish sun.
A star in the Empyrean
of fashion and of skill,
the matador Iberian
is truly dressed to kill.

But though there’s splendor in his face
and glory in his eye
and though he moves with matchless grace
all unafraid to die,
still something looks ridiculous:
in spite of silk cravat,
and waistcoat most meticulous,
he wears a silly hat.

And I have seen a bull lie down
and giggle till it’s dead
at what is perched upon the crown
of his bullfighter’s head.


This lady’s veil is anything but simple:
you’ll find it most extremely versatile.
So many ways that you can wear your wimple—
choose any form that signifies your style!
Some drape it to accentuate a dimple,
some add a silver circlet, just for fun,
some pin it round the chin to hide a pimple,
some fold and starch it, like the Flying Nun.
Or you could crease it all into a crimple
(a real word—I checked the O.E.D.).
Try sporting it upon the peak of Gimpel,
where Alpine winds may whip it wild and free.
Then strum a tune about it on your timple,
about some fashion never seen before.
So many different ways to wear the wimple…
so try one on, and go invent some more!

Kelly Scott Franklin plays the ukulele. His poetry and translations have landed in Able Muse (forthcoming), Driftwood Press Literary Magazine, Thimble Literary Magazine, Literary Matters, Jesus the Imagination, Iowa City Poetry in Public, The Ekphrastic Review, and elsewhere. His essays and reviews can be found in The Wall Street Journal, Commonweal, The New Criterion, and other venues. In his spare time, he teaches American Literature and the Great Books at Hillsdale College. He lives in Michigan with his wife and daughter, who sometimes appreciate his humor.