Michael Swan



(with acknowledgements to Ogden Nash)

While some entertainments are not considered proper, others are deemed much properer,
And the properest of all is undoubtedly opera.
But I can never remember whether we are seeing La Traviata or Il Trovatore,
And whatever it is, I cannot make any sense of the story.
Because in opera they all dress up as each other,
So the Count ends up confusing his girlfriend with his mother
Despite the fact that the latter is much larger than the former, and sings bass,
But she is holding a piece of cardboard with two eyeholes in front of her face,
And in the world of opera this counts as an adequate disguise.
Also, there is the fact that everybody sings very healthily for a long time when he or she dies.
And furthermore, when you get two young lovers like Tristan and Isolde,
They are both forty pounds heavier than you expect, and fifty years older.
So please do not attempt to take me to Figaro or Lucia di Lammermoor:
I would relish sitting in a swamp being hit on the head with a hammer more.
I hope you enjoy your evening at La Bohème or The Magic Flute or Carmen.
Speaking for myself, I plan to renew acquaintance with several barmen.


Michael Swan works in English language teaching and applied linguistics. He has been writing poetry for many years, driven perhaps by a need to prove that grammarians have souls. His work, both humorous and serious, has appeared in many magazines and has won a number of prizes. He has also published two full-scale collections.