I might glimpse you in passing
On the bus or in the park,
Or on your way to mass,
Or at the flicks, or after dark.
You sometimes wear the cutest cap,
And ankle socks and shorts –
As I shift my coat upon my lap
To hide my inner thoughts.
I never did a thing to show,
The thing that you can never know:
I don’t know why I’m made this way, you see,
But so I am:
I can’t deny these thoughts are part of me,
Behind the dam.
And like as not, will always be,
But there they’ll stay, and never free –
For even you can’t turn my key:
My will is strong, my lamb.
Inside, I long to clutch you,
But instead I’ll run a mile –
And I’ll never even touch you,
And I’ll never even smile.
And I’ll hate myself a little,
Or I’ll hate myself a lot,
Cos I know you’re far too brittle
For the loving that I’ve got.
I never did a thing to coax –
But run along, here come your folks.
So sharpen up the pitchforks, tie the noose,
And watch me dance.
I doubt I’ll even run, for what’s the use ?
You’re all a-trance.
Why wouldn’t I commit abuse ?
I broke no law, but what the deuce,
You can’t abide me on the loose !
Why even take the chance ?
I know that feeling that you feel,
That urge you feel you have to act upon.
But take my word, it isn’t real
It’s just an urge that we can heal –
We can resist, for we are steel !
(Although, in truth, it’s never fully gone.)
Don’t vent your hate before your children,
That won’t do.
Don’t let them see and learn your hate –
They’re only young – it’s not too late !
If you hate me for loving children –
Leave me be – because you love them too.
I don’t mean to imply anything about the artist – Victorians certainly fetishised children and childhood, but in a very idealised and utterly non-sexual way. It’s just strange to look on these types of portrait with our modern eyes.