Aristide Bruant au Honey Dew
Deep in Lautrec’s lovely eyes
Struggles the surge of violet seas;
Well bred ladydogs sniffing the Musakladen airs
Put him at unease.
It is an hour of tea; furs
Unfold their brown orchids in the smoke;
From each sweet claw dangles the little dagger
Too indolent for stroke.
Waitresses wear their cup-coloured clothing
To conceal a violence like artificial hydrangeas;
Eyes that should have been running rivers into lakes together
Pass as desert strangers.
O for Bruant to come blasphemous, talking up ready storms,
Raging to give the waiting girls their cue
To come forth all clatter and vile orange welcome, and to put
An absinthe in each Honey Dew.
Colleen Thibaudeau, 1948
“Aristide Bruant au Honey Dew” first appeared in Contemporary Verse (35, Summer 1951) and can also be found in The Artemesia Book (1991), available from Brick Books.
Toronto’s Honey Dew Restaurant (1948) was on the mezzanine level of the Odeon Carlton Theatre (20 Carlton Street near Yonge).