I met a man in Nottingham.
when innocent and young.
He promised sweet romance
with his nickel-plated tongue.
He offered me fine cuisine,
then took me to a skip –
said if I wanted to choose my food
I was welcome to take first dip.
We dined on outdated chicken pies,
followed by stale fruit cake,
leftover cheese, damp crackers,
and mysterious spongy bake.
I said I’d like to see a play –
he vowed he’d find something better.
He walked me three miles into town
to search for street theatre
A drunkard played the castanets
to a tone-deaf woman’s song,
a man with but a single leg
pranced and hopped along.
He asked if I liked dancing –
I smiled in quiet assent.
He took me down a tatty street
and up some steps we went.
In his grimy, litter-strewn bedsit
at the end of a corridor;
we danced until we fell upon
a mattress on the floor.
We went to choose a wedding ring
at the jewellers one night;
I chose a band of platinum
and said it was just right.
The window smashed, I grabbed the ring,
but things did not go well;
the police were round the corner –
that’s why I’m in this cell.
So all young girls in Nottingham
who are innocent and young,
don’t listen to vows of sweet romance
from a man with a plated tongue.
©Jane Paterson Basil