TP logo

| Books | Music | Events | New work | Contact & ordering

Lay for the Day 1st October

1943: 20th Century Fox releases Sweet Rosie O’Grady, starring Betty Grable, who had become Hollywood’s biggest female box-office attraction in the previous year. As a publicity photo for the film, the studio issued the famous ‘over-the-shoulder’ portrait below, shot by Frank Powolny in the spring of ’43. It became the most popular pin-up of the Second World War: it’s estimated that five million copies were eventually distributed. Indeed, the photographer believed that the term “pin-up” was defined by this shot (though Life magazine had in fact coined the phrase back in 1941, when it crowned Dorothy Lamour as the national pin-up). Grable’s next film, in 1944, was Pin-Up Girl. By 1947 she was the highest-salaried woman in America.


The Promise

Creation tends to double ways
When it comes to working wonders,
Pits a night of blues and greys
Against a day’s hot splendours;

And if the right hand raise a sun,
In the left is borne a daughter,
One to forge a fiery reign
And one to sway the water.

Onward with contrarious wheels,
The world’s in perpetual motion;
We stand, fly, change goods for ills,
Swap continent and ocean.

But still among distinguished halves
Moves one that is whole and total:
Some may admire golden calves;
I rise to a higher symbol.

The yin and yang that China sees
Revolves a white and a black side;
You resolve in finer peace
The sweet pair of your backside,

Where neither twin takes precedence,
Both bend and swell to globes that glance,
Kiss cheek to cheek, and so dance,
Spheres in heavenly balance.

And one day all our world shall be
As well-made as your bottom is:
Beauty, bounty, equity,
It shall be. That’s the promise.


John Gibbens
from The Promise

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar