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  Ted Slade (1939 - 2004)
   
     
 
I wondered how hed do it
- how would he get that knotted mass
of cartilage and bone to hang
from his shoulder, dragging his spine
into a lazy S?  Which shoulder
would he choose?  Or would it be
one of those Mr Punch jobs,
dead centre and rising
like a mountain peak behind his ears?
 
Then there were the legs.
How would he get those elegant pins
- the ones hed used in Hamlet
and Henry V - to twist and lope,
lose inches from the thighs?
And would both hands be the same size?
Or would one be shrunken and cramped,
inadequate to the holding of swords,
the balancing of crowns
or the wooing of maidens?
 
My schoolmates knew, of course,
as they showed me, aping my jagged
shape and halting gait
when the teachers drilled us into line
outside the Regal.
 
Olivier, in the end, chickened out,
stuffed a cushion up his tunic,
stuck putty on his face,
and kept the legs as neatly turned
as ever.
 

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