The Fundamental Things Apply…
“Et mes fesses? Tu les aimes, mes fesses?” – A naked Brigitte Bardot in the film Le Mépris
Browsing through a friend’s library the other day, I came across a copy of La Face Cachée des Fesses (The Hidden Side of the Bottom). Where the British take on this important matter would be inevitably coarse, with a super-abundancy of vulgar ‘Phwoar, show us yer arse, darlin‘ tabloid-style levity, the French are rather more cerebral about such matters; outside the bedroom, at any rate. Of what cooks inside French bedrooms, I have no knowledge: I promised Mother that I would never be intimate with a French person, owing to their well-known soap-dodging habit and their propensity for sexual perversion.
La Face Cachée des Fesses is, however, a welcome addition to the literature of body parts. The bottom, that marvelous and vital structure, that wonder of engineering that allows men to walk, that allows women to walk in a manner calculated to provoke insanity and allowed the great Le Pétomane, Joseph Pujol, to ‘…play “‘O Sole Mio” and “La Marseillaise” on an ocarina through a rubber tube in his anus‘ deserves proper consideration.
Sadly, however, my search for poetry on the subject of the bottom has been a (cough) dead-end. There must be fine poems about the human bottom but I can’t call any to mind and a trawl through the archives was no help. I feel sure that poets like Byron, Cavafy and Auden must have addressed the subject. I know Rochester and other smut-meisters did: but I’m after the lyrical not the leering.
Perhaps our friend, the hugely erudite Tom Clark, can help. In the mean-time, let’s have poems on the human haunch. No form, just take a seat and let’s get to the bottom of this odd lacunae…