She would submit fashion pictures 
– Spotty dresses, cut-off leggings, 
Cutely jazzy zig-zag tops, 
Off to Bunty Magazine 
And as I let her lick the stamps, 
I breathed hope into those envelopes. 
But she never won the prize, 
Never was publicized. 
The back page of Bunty 
Carried outfits with little tabs; A, B, C, etc. 
Which, carefully cut out, 
Might just about stay on the anodyne frame 
Of Bunty herself, 
Who wore only vest and knickers 
Waiting to be dressed. 
She was the perfect patient girl; 
Perfect with her bobbed hair and no tits. 
She had adventures with kittens 
And humorous encounters with deck-chairs 
...Unlike the Four Marys who thrilled us all 
With scary missions inside 
Weird crypts and secret corridors 
And there were plenty other tales: 
Orphan slaveys, acrobats, 
The sabotage of step-sisters 
And ragged ballerinas, shining, spiralling, 
Out from bedroom mirrors, 
Dancing on the pages 
– All of great but undiscovered 
Blue-blood and/or talent: 
Bullied by the worthless/jealous rich 
Until the mysteries of hidden, but 
Inevitable heritages unravelled. 
Yes, Bunty Magazine for girls 
Dripped with weekly cruelty 
And masochism but, 
Though badness ever lurked 
With sneering lips to keep apart 
Some poor girl from her darling horse 
And break her heart, 
Smart endurance 
And forbearance in the stories 
Got rewarded always by the sunshine ointment 
Of success and rapture in the fragrant end. 
I think I suffered more than disappointment 
When my stoic daughter's contributions 
Ended on the reject floor; 
Never won a medal once, 
Never got to dress the star, 
Never, ever caught the eye 
Of that ingrate Bunty editor. 
Clive Donovan  devotes himself full-time to poetry and has published in a wide variety of magazines including Acumen, Agenda, Pushing out the boat, Prole, Salzburg Review and The Journal. He lives in the creative atmosphere of Totnes, Devon, often walking along the River Dart for inspiration. He has yet to make a first collection.