Lesley Gordon

Elvira Binns

The parents of ELVIRA BINNS
Were very glad she wasn't twins,
But that was all, without a doubt,
Her parents could be glad about.
Said Mr. Binns, with hollow wit,
"We'll try and make the best of it.
She might have been," said Mr. Binns,
"Triplets or quadruplets or quins.
When all is said and all is done,
At least the child is only one."

And now, perhaps,
I'd best explain,
The reason for
Her parents' pain ;
And you may judge
If they were right
In thinking her...

a horrid sight.

The stockings of ELVIRA BINNS
Were fastened up with safety-pins,
Her cardigan was tied with tape,
Which gave it such a weary shape.
No buttons held ELVIRA'S shoe,
No laces, just a spot of glue.
Each coat, each frock, each under-thing,
Was coaxed to stay with bits of string...
merely because ELVIRA BINNS
had never thought of drawing-pins.

The foolish girl could not abide
To wear a hair-ribbon or slide,
And so her eyes would peer and stare
From tangled undergrowths of hair
Like some disdainful Pekinese...
It sometimes even made her sneeze.
Her coat was torn, her hat was crushed,
But do you think ELVIRA blushed?
Of course you don't... ELVIRA smiled.
She really was a shameless child.

"If only she," said Mrs. Binns,
In mentioning her daughter's sins,
"Had not been born upon a Friday
She might have been a shade more tidy.
But Friday, and then the thirteenth, too...
You never know what that will do!"

Although it seemed a trifle late
To spare the child and blame the date,
Indulgent, kind and rather fat,
ELVIRA'S mother was like that!
Her aunties and her uncles, too,
Would shudder when she came in view
And say, "That girl will drop to pieces.
It's lucky we have other nieces!"

At length, outgrowing cot and nurse,
ELVIRA turned from bad to worse,
Till dogs and cats and little boys
Would follow her with frightful noise.
And when the dustman came to call
She dare not go outside at all...
She dare not show her frowsy head,
And both the next-door neighbours said,
"No wonder that ELVIRA shakes,
for even dustmen make mistakes!"

A single moment more attend
To hear my story's painful end,
How walking once outside the Ritz
Quite suddenly...


She fell to pieces just like that...
Her arms, her legs, her gloves, her hat...
And once begun she couldn't stop.
You should have heard the pins go pop!
You should have seen the bits of string!
The people stared like anything,
And dogs and cats and butcher boys
All made the most disgraceful noise.

Of course they tried the usual thing...
They fetched the police, who told the King,
Who sent his horses and his men
To patch ELVIRA up again.

You may have guessed...
I thought you would...
They weren't the slightest scrap of good

And at the dawning
of the day,
ELVIRA BINNS was swept away,
A heap of dusty,
tattered bits...

They're very tidy at the Ritz.

Elvira Binns

The end