Poem number 406
The Lady of Sherwood
“Maid Marian, my dear old thing! How nice, long time no see!
How’d the house-move go, and are you settled in the trees?”
“My dear, how nice to see you, well in fact, if truth be tell
At first the move was troublesome and didn’t go so well…”
“Alas! Was that your Robin? Was his style a trifle cramped
With his lady there beside him in that very manly camp?”
“Oh no! My darling Robin was an angel from the go
But his Merry Men were beastly, and quite horrid don’t you know.”
“How awful! Is it sorted now? How did you win them round?
Did you best them all with sword and lance and beat them to the ground?”
“Oh no! They know fair well that I’m their equal with a blade
It was more a case of wooing every gent within the glade…”
“How clever! Did you send them cards, pin flowers on their arms
And bat your eyes, coquettish, to remind them of your charms?”
“Not quite – I fear they’re cynical, immune to girlish bubbles
So I choiced to help each one perform a task that caused them trouble.”
“I see! An effort then, to demonstrate, that you could be of use
That you weren’t just Robin’s bit of fluff and worthy of abuse?”
“Exactly! And it worked a treat – they’re lovely as can be
Now that they are mended – you must come around for tea!”
“I’d love to, but please tell me first what tasks did you enact
To restore the simple manners that those men had sorely lacked?”
“Well the first of them, still just a lad, who’s simply known as Mutch
Had a badly twisted ankle, so I whittled him a crutch.
Then youngest to the oldest, I approached next Little John
Who does miss his sister’s baking, so I whipped him up some scones.
After that I talked a spell with wily old Will Scarlet –
He was aching for a woman so I hired for him a harlot…”
“I say! That’s rather modern! I’m not sure that I condone
Such licentiousness in woodland, or such lowered moral tone
But you had to help the man, I fear, and now his needs are met
Pray tell me who you aided next, what help did you beget?”
“The next was quite a sweet young man called Alan-Of-The-Dale
He has a love of gastropods, I captured him a snail.
And then, the last, the warrior, The Saracen Of Moor
Was starving half to death, it seemed, I roasted him a boar.”
“How wonderful, you clever thing, how well you’ve spent your time
And did you spot, my dearest, that you helped them all in rhyme?
A crutch for Mutch, a scone for John and then a boar for Moor
A harlot for Will Scarlet and a snail for Dale – Encore!
But tell me, if my sums are true, that’s five men that you’ve fixed
And – though I may be wrong, my dear – I’d thought the band were six?”
“Alas, you’re right, and this is where my quest is yet complete
For I, as well, had noticed all the rhyming in my feat,
And thus delayed the final man… Oh Good Lord give me luck!
For the final task I have to face is Lewd old Friar Tuck!”
Poem number 406