An old house over the Fal
in Flushing village
still had its crinoline cupboard
in the mid 1970s,

a spacious interior
where hooped and rigid frames
swayed sedately in the draughty gloom.
Those crinoline girls

wore no knickers,
sea breezes
surely finding their way in
to explore and caress the terra incognita

hidden within stiff whalebone domes
over which ladylike petticoated silks
and brocades kept their counsel.
Today this crinoline world

is like a distant galaxy
seen through a radio-telescope
yet the touch of warm permissive air,
its fingers and tongues at work

around unclad bums and creases,
is familiar to us as the tact
and timing of our own fore-playing wiles —
Ah the deferential prisoning crinoline,

it knew an aphrodisian thing or two …
Ever tried crossing your legs
while wearing a crinoline?
Girls, it can’t be done.