Abba had nothing on my dancing queen –
marshmallow-pink tutu, handmade by me;
a whiz with a machine … in those days.
Her pirouettes and pliés almost brought
the house down; just a make-shift stage
at the local village school.
Yes! Yes! Yes! That Friday evening she was
Margot Fonteyn, completely wowing the crowds
at good old Sadler’s Wells.
The lights came up; she curtsied, waved to me.
I threw her a rose. She pricked her finger. I was
there like a shot. Wiped her eyes – blew her nose.
Too soon, I drove her home – ran her bath,
dried in between her toes and read
the final three pages of Wind in the Willows.
Time for bed, I kissed her, “Night-night,”
and can sense them still – that smell of Lifebuoy,
mixed with candyfloss; and the sound of her words,
“Love you loads. When I’m a grown up, I’d like
to be famous. Oh, and thank you for my tutu,”
frothily displayed on her divan.
Then … she leapt out of bed – grabbed my hand.
Asked, “Would you care to dance, Papa?” as if
she couldn’t bear for the magic to end.
“Mademoiselle, I’d be delighted!” I replied.
So there we were, daughter and me … She,
my Columbine and I, her Harlequin.
But the years flew quickly by and I’d give
everything I had just to dance with her again ...
and go ever so slightly mad.