Lipstick the colour of Hawaiian Fire,
Field notes and kinship charts thrown on a pyre,
Being in church when a telephone rings —
These are a few most unsuitable things.

Ministry windows with different pigeons,
‘Swimming the Tiber’ and changing religions,
Respect and esteem without throbbing heartstrings —
These are a few most unsuitable things.

Judgment Day sermons with obscure quotations,
Curates exposing their long combinations
Or having fiancées off in the wings,
These are a few most unsuitable things.

When the sponge falls, when the tea’s weak,
When you’re feeling sad,
Just reach for a novel by Barbara Pym,
And then you won’t feel so bad!

Jesuits, woodworm, and bird domination,
Garden fêtes spoilt by precipitation,
Husbands debating adulterous flings —
These are a few most unsuitable things.

Fabergé eggs pinched by clergy housekeepers,
Cauliflow’r cheese hiding little green creepers,
Leaving the house without hat or stockings —
These are a few most unsuitable things.

Spinsters with crushes on celibate vicars,
Expecting warmth when one wears cotton knickers,
Women aged thirty without wedding rings —
These are a few most unsuitable things.

When the sponge falls, when the tea’s weak,
When you’re feeling sad,
Just reach for a novel by Barbara Pym,
And then you won’t feel so bad!

Music by Richard Rodgers, 1959
Original lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Parody by Tom Sopko, 2012