Governor's siren song

26th December 1997 at 00:00
Joan Sallis takes a break from questions to versify the lure of the governor's job (with apologies to Keats).

La Belle Ecole Sans Merci Oh what can ail thee governor, Alone and palely loitering, Though the caretaker has locked the doors, And no bells ring?

Oh what can ail thee governor So dreamy eyed and so alone?

Why walk these echoing corridors Whence all have flown?

The budget's set, the bills are met, No worries keep you late.

No long brown envelope lurks unseen With OFSTED's date.

The filing cabinet is full Of policies all smart and new, You're up to date, the rest sleep sound, So why not you?

"I met a Lady in the hall, With eyes paint-blue and child-gold hair, As daytime voices die away She's always there.

No fears or furies haunt my dreams, But this frail spirit has me tied With threads of finest gossamer Close to her side.

The children's laughter is her voice Their daytime songs her sighs, My feet would flee - but then I die Into her eyes.

I only meant to lend a hand, Spare the odd evening after tea, Give something back to this old school That once schooled me.

They tried to warn me long ago That I might in my turn fall prey To this addiction (no known cure) And waste away.

No cure they said, and no escape For those attuned to hear her call: 'La belle ecole sans merci Hath thee in thrall'.

And that is why you find me here Alone and palely loitering, Though the caretaker is long abed, And no bells ring."

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