September 9th 1901…

A September evening in old Paris town,
The time when Parisians let their hair down.
There’s laughing and dancing and folk getting drunk,
And all of the ladies are looking like punks.
It just needs an artist to capture the scene,
But Toulouse-Lautrec is nowhere to be seen.

There’s lots of shenanigans down by the Seine,
Where couples are “at it” again and again.
With long-legged females, their busts hanging out,
And randy old guys who all year go without.
A talented painter would have lots of fun,
But Toulouse-Lautrec, where the hell has he gone?

The pimps and the hookers are having a ball,
In the seedy back alleys behind the Pigalle.
As bright-painted ladies with sailor boys flirt,
Whilst doing the Can-Can and lifting their skirts.
His easel and brushes should be here today,
But Toulouse-Lautrec, he has drifted away.

In bars and in brothels, you hear them all say,
“We haven’t seen Toulouse in many a day.
He used to call by for a drink and a nap,
And spend time with the ladies who gave him the clap.
But at just thirty-six, he’s been laid out to rest,
It’s ‘Farewell old friend,’ you were one of the best.”



Jeff Eardley lives in the heart of England near to the Peak District National Park and is a local musician playing guitar, mandolin and piano steeped in the music of America, including the likes of Ry Cooder, Paul Simon, and particularly Hank Williams.

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12 Responses

  1. Mark Stellinga

    Jeff, how old are you – it sounds like you must have hung out with the little dude now and then? A really fun piece -:) – thanks for posting.

    • Jeff Eardley

      Thanks Mark, the little guy was certainly a character,
      A bit before my time I’m afraid. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Paul Freeman

    A sort of cautionary tale for adults.

    Very enjoyable, Jeff.

    • Jeff Eardley

      Glad you enjoyed Cynthia. The story of the little fellow is actually quite a sad one.

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    A funny and rollicking poem — I’m sure Henri himself would have appreciated it!

    I was pleased to see the poet use the long-obsolete Elizabethan-Jacobean “punks” for prostitutes.

  4. Jeff Eardley

    Thanks Joseph. I never realised that “punk” had been around for so long. It attached itself to some of the worst music in my opinion. Your comment is much appreciated.

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Jeff, I am laughing and wishing you were doing an online course in Art History. I’d sign up in a flash! This is huge fun and I hope you’re going to give us a poetic lesson on every colorful, brush-wielding talent out there. Thank you!

  6. Jeff Eardley

    Thanks Susan, yes a bit like one of those “Horrible History” books. A friend of mine has a huge motorhome with two toilets. When he goes travelling in France, he calls it “Two Loos La Trek.” The life story of the artist however is rather sad. Best wishes.

  7. Norma Pain

    A fun frolic of fast facts about flirty females and raunchy men, and an artist who died too soon. Thank you Jeff for teaching me about Toulouse-Lautrec with your funny, enjoyable poem.

  8. Jeff Eardley

    Norma, all those “f” in the first line are wonderful. Thanks for your comment on what was a sad life story, a bit like Van Gogh. These guys never achieved their true recognition in their short lives.


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