Some of us are weak kneed, knock kneed, knuckle kneed,
dreaming of much nicer knees, knees that are nobble-free,
knees that never creak, or no knees at all.
We’d not need knees if we were lacking legs,
but if our legs dropped off we’d be heading for a fall;
so we all want legs, and without our knees
our poor old legs would be stiff as pegs,
good for little more than standing tall.
The shape and the size and the state of our thighs
may be sore to the eyes, but a word to the wise –
some of us may agonise, may disguise or try to downsize,
thinking them too wide or too pied, but they help us to stride
down the roadside, hillside, wayside, on any side and every side,
waggling our backsides, or gliding like a bride.
Shins are pretty thin, their bones sit next to skin
sensitive to irritating scraping and scratching,
low furniture abusing them, banging them and bruising them,
at every opportunity, but they’re streamlined for sprinting.
Calves are often floppy, they may be thick or thin,
they often swell in places where you want them to go in.
If they get too flabby our jeans may be a squeeze,
while skirts can swing and rise up in a sudden gusty breeze,
revealing all our bulgy bits, and that is not much fun,
but the chub will turn to muscle if we regularly run.
Ankles are all angles, and at risk from hockey stick,
which with a careless swing, can deal a painful clip,
they’re delicate, and sensitive to every graze and bruise,
and when ambushed by a table leg, they usually lose.
But they’re worth all the pain and the occasional sprain,
as the moment they recover, they’re in action again,
helping you to balance and lifting up your feet,
while twisting round to steer you up and down the street.
Legs may be lanky, flabby, lean or even beautiful –
however they may look, they are usually dutiful,
taking you to places far too narrow for a car;
from bathroom into bedroom – then to ballroom or to bar.
They’re useful on a bicycle if you want the wheels to turn,
and if you didn’t have them it would cause you some concern.
You cannot do the can-can without a working pair,
and for roamin’ in the gloamin’ there’s nothing to compare
with your legs, whether hairy, freckled, ugly or glamorous —
and they prove to be an asset when yer man is getting amorous;
You can wrap ’em round or lay ’em flat or bend ’em at the knees,
or contort them in whatever way the two of you may please.
To celebrate your legs, play some music, have a dance,
jump and hop and wiggle while you still have got the chance.
I wrote this poem a few months ago for a friend, to include in a book she was writing about legs, which has just gone to print.
©Jane Paterson Basil