Lord Byron’s Foot

  1. That day you sailed across the Adriatic,
  2. wearing your scarlet jacket trimmed in gold,
  3. you stood there on the quarter deck, beglamored,
  4. but we were all distracted by your foot.
  5. Your foot, your foot, your lordship’s gimpy foot,
  6. your twisted, clubbed and clomping foot, your foot.
  7. Well, Caroline went half-mad for your love,
  8. but did she ever try to make you dance?
  9. No, never, never, never would that happen;
  10. no, never with your limping Lordship’s foot—
  11. your foot, your foot, your lame and limping foot,
  12. your limp and lumbering, plump and plodding foot.
  13. We see you posing with your catamite,
  14. a GQ fashion-spread from 1812,
  15. but one shoe seems to differ from the other.
  16. Is that the shoe that hides your hobbled foot?
  17. Your foot, your foot, your game and gimping foot,
  18. your halt and hobbled, clumped and clopping foot.
  19. And why did Milbanke sue you for divorce?
  20. T’was buggery? I really do doubt that.
  21. It was your foot, and everybody knows it.
  22. It’s all we think about—your stupid foot.
  23. Your foot, your foot, your clumsy, clumping foot,
  24. your limp and gimping, stupid, stubby foot.
  25. And after you had swum the Hellesponte,
  26. “A fin is better than a foot,” they’d say.
  27. Behind your back they’d say, “a fin is better,”
  28. meaning your Lordship’s foot was just a fin.
  29. A fin, a fin, your foot was just a fin;
  30. your flubbed and flumping foot was just a fin.
  31. And when you went to Cavalchina, masked,
  32. with Leporello’s list (only half male),
  33. what were your friends all whispering about?
  34. What had they been remembering—your foot?
  35. Your foot, your foot, your halt and hampered foot.
  36. Your hobbled, clubbed and clopping foot, your foot.
  37. When Odevaere drew you on your deathbed,
  38. with laurel on your alabaster brow,
  39. he threw a blanket on your legs—but why?
  40. Could it have been to cover up your foot?
  41. Your foot, your foot, your pinched and palsied foot,
  42. your crimped and clumping, gimped, galumphing foot.
  43. It’s best if we just contemplate your bust,
  44. a bust by Thorvaldson or Bartolini,
  45. and why is that you ask, and why is that?
  46. So no one has to see your friggin’ foot,
  47. your foot, your foot, your clomping monster foot,
  48. your foot, your foot, your foot, your foot, your foot!