I reprint “Frances Among the Beehives: A Birthday Ode, 1980” to mark the birthday of my dearest friend. She lived, in those days, in Utah, a “black hat” among the “saints”:
Frances Fisher, drinking ginand tonic as the Saints march in,Waverly Fisher, whom Random knew whenHas turned twenty-nine. Rand starts over again,Smites his forehead, pours a cupOf Folgers hi-test, sobers upWithin another cup or two, or(Muse invoked) another few,Conveys from land of sin and surfHis greetings to Moroni’s turf,Hopes Provo is pleasant, knows Mormons are notAll that bad save en masse(but it’s en masse you’ve got—Utah being the homeland of Wog and of Polly,Salt Lake, Brigham Young and the Osmonds, by golly!).This doggerel is pretty poorImitation Clement MooreWhich is, however, no excuseNot to play it fast and looseOn Frances Fisher’s natal day.Sin! Debauch! And by the wayDo not let Sainthood take its tollOn Franny’s hedonistic soul.In Rome we do as Romans doBut are, in Zion, careful toStay decadent. Remain alert!Party, drink, and don’t convert.Cheek by jowl with Latter-DatesBlack hats discreetly congregate,and slipping from the pious’ sightGo Gentile into that good night.