Thursday, April 7, 2011

In Defence of Fat Women

Chesterton's poetry includes some razor-sharp parodies and lampoons of other poets. Here he rushes to the defence of the fat white woman seen on a train by Frances Cornford (died 1960), lines from which often appear in books of quotations. I imagine that Chesterton's chivalry and his sense of solidarity with another person of girth both motivated his satire here!

To a Fat Lady Seen From the Train
– Frances Cornford

O why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
Missing so much and so much?
O fat white woman whom nobody loves,
Why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
When the grass is soft as the breast of doves
And shivering sweet to the touch?
O why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
Missing so much and so much?

The Fat White Woman Speaks
--GK Chesterton

Why do you rush through the field in trains,
Guessing so much and so much?
Why do you flash through the flowery meads,
Fat-head poet that nobody reads;
And why do you know such a frightful lot
About people in gloves as such?
And how the devil can you be sure,
Guessing so much and so much,
How do you know but what someone who loves
Always to see me in nice white gloves
At the end of the field you are rushing by,
Is waiting for his Old Dutch?

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