my Pimlico girl

I’ve just re-re-edited this for my next book – a section of old stuff and brand new   – this goes down well in readings – not the least for a soupcon of double entendre.

I love my Pimlico girl and she loves me.
I saw her beside the Regent’s Canal,
haloed by early morning sunbeams,
a modern day Madonna,
reading La Peste.
I straightened a crooked Gauloise,
and mingled words with smoky
rive-gauche poise,
‘pardon, mais j’adore Camus, ‘Sisyphe’ surtout.’
‘would you imagine Sisyphus happy?’
‘don’t ask me. how should I know?’
pondering a weighty response
I stroked my chin.
she broke the tumbleweed silence,
I lit a cigarette
passed it over.
we stared at the canal,
its green-ink water
and swans at swim
and smoked.
she whispered softly,
‘if only love itself was enough.’
the swans serened out of sight.
she sighed,
‘I admire their fidelity,
how they mate for life…
we are strangers,
but could be lovers,  
sharing a discreet ‘affaire’  
au milieu de la crudité
of this soulless city.’
‘was that soliloquy aimed at me?’
I dredged a misquote out of memory, 
‘we’re all strangers – estranged from ourselves.’
she flicked her Gauloise into the stream.
‘then, let’s be strangers no more –
great works can be born on street-corners
and restaurants’ revolving doors,
and great loves may spring
from towpath chance encounters…’
we took a bus to Pimlico,
walked, hand in hand,
labyrinthine streets
to a tucked away
mews retreat.
she led me up a spiral staircase
across a neat-trimmed patio patch
through a tight door
into a bijou pied-à-terre
and a boudoir
saturated with her pleroma.
we shared love and lust abundantly
but not our names –  
an irrelevancy.
at dusk we smoked my last Gauloise.
‘il est temps que tu partie.’
 ‘will I see you again?’
‘bien sûr, cherie, je serais toujours là pour toi.’
heading home,
blinded by the audacity
of lust and love with anonymity,
I skipped the tangle of Pimlico streets.
now I trudge the pavement maze  
traipsing yellow clouds
of hazy memory,
and haunt the banks of the Regent’s Canal.

© coolhermit 2023
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Tres bien monsieur cool. I struggle with french but I think I got the drift. I liked this “innocent” little tale, I can understand why it would be popular in readings. I didn’t see the original version but the re-edit seems to be a good job done. Definitely a breath of fresh canal air in this current turgid atmosphere.


I couldn’t agree more. Funny people the French are but you gotta love’em.




I need to comment on the comment. It’s a great comment. I wish that I could vote it up 2 times. Forgot a smiley up there perhaps. Maybe I deserve more French…:).

More seriously I know people on both sides of the canal so what to do?


Just love everybody regardless. Brilliant!! 🙂


Thou hast (?) chosen a good name for thyself. Merci beaucoup.

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