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'East End Girl, Dancing The Lambeth Walk' Photo by Bill Brandt

He’s set it up, of course. Or, rather, framed it.

There’d be no feigning this young woman’s delight

in being ‘free and easy’ and doing

‘as you darn well pleasy’. She’s got her best blouse on,

with shoulder puffs, her sister’s shoes, which fit her now,

black ankle socks and shoulder length, unpermed hair

freshly washed – and waved, probably with Kirby grips.

Doin’ the walk, she lifts the hem of her skirt,

revealing her slip – and smiles coquettishly.

Beside her is a line, a queue almost of

female acolytes. (The only boy looks away).

They’re pre-pubescent, excited, nervous at what they see:

grown up clothes, shapely legs, unimaginable bust,

a sensuousness that, unwilled, will be theirs.

Down the street of terraced houses, symmetrical

as barracks, a woman strides, her back turned

on this miracle: a girl who knows

she will never grow old – ‘Any ev’ning,

any day…Doin’ the Lambeth Walk.’ Oi!



Note: the piece was first published on the site in April 2009.

© Copyright David Selzer

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