Guest poem submitted by William Grey:
(Poem #1830) The Dentist
Yes, yes, the dentist talks a lot For he's content and you are not. He is the tiger in the house And you are, as it were, the mouse. No wonder, then, as you come in He greets you with a happy grin And drops hilarious remarks About the flowers in the parks, About the holidays he's had, About the weather, good or bad, Though at the moment, as he knows, You don't care if it rains or snows. For ever since the date was made You've been dejected and afraid. You dreamed of drills, in vain you chewed Your favourite forbidden food, Since every bite reminded you Of this repugnant interview. And now that you are in the chair, You cannot think what brought you there, In fact you hardly like to name The tusk you fancied was to blame. At least it is quiescent now Why stir it up and cause a row? And he who has the notion too That there is nothing wrong with you With cruel steel goes picking round A tooth that's absolutely sound Deliberately tries to bore A hole where there was none before! You splutter "That is not the one!" He answers "Plenty to be done" And makes a systematic mess Of all the teeth that you possess. Then still with gossip bright and gay He moves the horrid wheel your way And from a crowd delights to draw The largest drill you ever saw. The rest's too painful to be read. I think that Aristotle said That children of a certain age Should not be eaten on the stage And there are things too dark and solemn To be recorded in this column, Whose purpose after all is just To show the bread beneath the crust And how the darkest cloud is lined With silver of the brightest kind. Well then, I will not dwell on all The horrors that may now befall The things with which he stuffs your mouth, The cotton wadding, north and south, The pumps which suck with such a will But seem to make you wetter still, And when the fun begins to flag, The grisly gutta-percha gag. But I implore you all the time To concentrate on the Sublime. Remember in the woods of June The nightingale salutes the moon, The Thames keeps rolling up and down, In Autumn all the leaves are brown, The bluebells still will flood the copse However many teeth he stops. And if you still remain distressed Hug this reflection to your breast That some poor fellows, after all, Have not got any teeth at all.
Although dental technology has advanced considerably in the last 80 years, many elements of the dental surgery are instantly recognizable, and the affective impact of a visit to the dentist is little changed. Some biographical notes on the poet were included with  to which this is a marvellous companion piece. Herbert's representations on Minstrels remain sparse , . More details about his life can be found in his autobiography . William Grey  Poem #1805, The Doctor -- A.P. Herbert  Poem #732, To the Lady Behind Me at the Theatre -- A.P. Herbert  A.P.H.: His Life and Times (1970) -- A.P. Herbert