To My Grandmother it was Just a Hairnet

To my grandmother it was just a hairnet
But green insistent magic stretched it o'er
My face: it was the mask of Spider Man
A Biro served to mark me out heroic
With Spidey's spider symbol on my chest
But all the mothers in the changing rooms
For swimming saw and laughed and quashed the spell

My cloak a patterned rag of gossamer
For Superman cut straight, for Batman cut
In jags triangular; but fickleness
Reduced the cape to a Super-cravat
No use in fighting crime. Meanwhile at school
I was a camel, led upon a string
To Bethlehem. I'd wanted to be King.

Next year I was amongst the shuffling trees
Stripped to our underwear and forced to dance
In ripped green dustbin bags around Snow White
Such frippery was not my way at all
At home I wrapped myself in scarlet cape
Was war-god Mars, Olympian, in pants
I marched around the garden, menaced ants

I fear that all you need to know of me
Is this: my first school held a Viking day
With Viking-theméd fete and every child
With Viking axe, in helm and fur bedecked
Played Viking games, bought Viking food from stalls
And watched the Viking longboat burn away
That noble ship of papier-mache...

But one stranger walked amidst the fun
A lone cowboy with sherrif's badge and gun