Incantation

In those days Evil, insolent in its powers,
Wore monocles, spit curls, spats, and blatant frippery —
No gauze of ambiguities, as in ours,
And hence no grappling with the morally slippery.
In those days Goodness, bleached to the roots and quivering,
Batted its lashes, pleaded, poignantly shrank,
Smiled through a leak of tears, and started shivering
In utter funk before the vamp who slank.
Virgins were sure to spot their male equivalent:
Cleft at the chin, clean-cut, and capped with curls,
Sweetly asexual, briskly unambivalent,
He poleaxed cads and rescued hamstrung girls.
Babies from floods or fires were snatched by balloons.
Mothers were saints who beamed in the blackest emergency.
Brothers were claimed from fleshpots, dads from saloons,
And the Lord Himself stepped in when asked with urgency.
We need you, Doug, and come to the rescue, Wally.
Simper again and save us, Bessie, Lil.
Disarm us with a pratfall, Harold and Charlie.
Or smite us, God of our fathers and Cecil de Mille.