THE HISTORY OF SARAH SMALL
by
Lesley Gordon

The school report of Sarah Small
Was 'Late or absent' - not at all
'Politeness' - average for her sex
And 'Conduct' - Excellent (marked Ex)
'An earnest student,' wrote Miss Mirk
'Of drawing and art needlework
Has never merited detention.'
But what her mistress didn't mention
When filling up the Fourth Form sheets
Was Sarah's love of sucking sweets.

For Toffee'd crunch and furtive lick
Accompanied arithmetic
And every algebraic sum
Was solved with aid of chewing-gum
While chocolate drops grew quickly fewer
With English Literature
And during drill and Swedish jerks
There shot into Sarah's works
With almost automatic pops
A well timed hail of acid drops.

Surprising it may seem to those
Who have not tried a daily dose
That study of the consonant
Is greatly helped by creme-de-menthe
While English vowels - and French as well
Sound richer mixed with caramel
Which really only goes to show
As someone said, 'You never know.'
But Sarah's own contribution
To singing classes and elocution
Though not admired by one and all
At least was quite original.
At end of term on breaking up
What won the Recitation Cup?
Her rendering of that divine
'Ode to the Lessher Shelandine.'
At concerts too, each liquid note
That soared from Sarah's sticky throat
Was judged, at least by Mrs Small
Worth three-and-sixpence for the stall
It took her friends and parents long
To notice there was something wrong
Though Sarah's mother could not fail
To see that she was growing pale
At last they learnt the dreadful truth
Poor Sarah, having a sweet tooth
Had eaten sweets in tons and tons
Till all her teeth were sugar ones.

But wait a moment, that's not all
Our heroine, this Sarah Small
Began with infinite surprise
From head to toe to crystalize
And first a finger, then a thumb
Would change to eucalyptus gum
While daily all her friends could watch
Her elbows turn to butterscotch.

A girl with eyes of brandy balls
The sight, the very thought, appals
And shaded not with lashes but
With desiccated coco-nut
The strong young legs on which she ran
Are now columns of marzipan
And underneath her linen frock
Poor Sarah Small is Brighton Rock
I must repeat, 'it only shows,'
As someone said, 'One never knows.'
So well protected from the sun
For fear her cherished features run
Beneath a glass case in the hall
Stand the remains of Sarah Small
And when the housemaid comes to dust
I fear, I dread, but still I trust
That naughty housemaid will not go
And steal a bit that does not show
Then hastily replace the lid........
As somebody that I know did.

The end