An American in Paris (1951)
An American in Paris (1951)

BooksJune 30, 2023

The Friday Poem: ‘I wish I’d been a Frenchman’ by Elizabeth Smither

An American in Paris (1951)
An American in Paris (1951)

A new poem by Elizabeth Smither.

I wish I’d been a Frenchman

for Jane Parkin

Three feisty daughters, one feisty consort
devoted, astringent but far from French
one of those women who twine
like a vine and make him grow
for an hour or so.

In Paris he couldn’t take his eyes off
a dance he had never experienced
(not that his wife stood on his toes
just an inclination to lead.)
He adored. She looked at her guidebook.

The way Frenchwomen seemed to linger.
In a book he’d read an invitation to drinks
meant just one drink savoured
while all around flowed conversation
and flirting, flirting, flirting.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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