Guilty of arson - sentenced to 6 months, 1912
I knew the risks.
Each night they played
like a silent film before my eyes.
But I took them.
Melodrama is my mode.
Take a risk. Then if you pull it off,
you can smooth the deep creases
of the history books, penned
by heavy hands - men's hands.
What other woman could say
her abode was Parliament
(albeit a cupboard) on Census Day?
I was the limelight lady
each time they held me down
and threaded their tubes up
my nostrils. While a sour cocktail
of brandy and milk burned through me,
I saw myself not on the examining chair,
pinned by six men, but in a mise-en-scène
reclining on a chaise-longue,
hugged in silks and feathers,
my six suitors, arms outstretched,
each begging me to let him be the one
to light my cigarette.
This dumbshow played
when your thought-clogged mind
to mark a cross.