I wrote this story/poem before Johnny Depp's great performance as the Mad Hatter in the recent Alice in Wonderland movie.
THE IRANIAN HAT
The Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs was going to England
and wanted to impress his hosts
with something authentically Iranian,
so he went to the best hat shop in town
and bought himself a fez.
The hat shop was full of the most expensive and luxurious hats,
hats for every occasion:
Doctoral Caps, Bicorns, Tricorns, Bowlers,
Stovepipes & Musketeer Hats,
Imported Hats & Caps from England,
Borsalino Italian Hats,
Scala, Stacy Adams & Selentino Hats from Europe,
Dearstalker/Sherlock Holmes hats,
Ladies Western hats,
children's hats & Beaver Hats
Velour Hats, Felt Hats,
Panama & Straw Hats
Derby, Homburg & Top Hats
Indiana Jones Hats.
The Foreign Affairs Minister
knew what he was after, however,
and bought the velvety-red fez
with the gold tassle on top.
The fez was a bit of a snob, though,
and felt itself cut from a different
cloth than the rest of the hats in the shop
for whom it had nothing but disdain.
'Likewise!' the Hoquy beret from France retorted with a sneer,
and the Muscovite fur cap
only wished he was on the same shelf
so he could flatten the pretentious Persian.
'You're off your head, mate!'
said the Barmah Outback hat
The Scots tammy declared,
'Ye wouldn't survive
two seconds back in Sauchiehall street, my wee friend!'
and the Greek Fisherman's cap
mentioned Alexander the Great
and the fall of the Persian empire
which led to a long debate about helmets
which we won't go into here.
Truly, the Iranian hat was much like Oscar Wilde's
pompous Remarkable Rocket!
What would he say
when he arrived at Buckingham Palace:
A pleasure to meet you, Ma'am!
The hatter took down the Iranian hat
from the shelf and presented it to the customer
who beamed with pleasure.
'Exactly what I'm after.' he said.
'Would you be requiring a hat box
and care and cleaning equipment
as well, sir?'
'Oh, no, I'll just take the hat, thanks.'
and with that he popped
it on his head and wrote out a cheque.
The hatter waved the customer goodbye
and a little bell rang when he left the shop.
And so it was that the hat from Iran
ended up at the London Hilton, under
a double bed. And when the laughing lady had gone,
he was all alone with the fat gentleman from Ishapan,
who was feeling very satisfied with the trip so far.
He had shaken hands with royalty,
met the British Prime Minister,
and signed a deal with British Petroleum;
a successful venture, altogether.
In the morning, his stretch limo
was waiting to take him to the airport,
but gosh! there was no hat on his head.
Never mind, I'll telephone the hotel
when I get home, and they will send it
to me by air mail. With that,
he settled into his seat
and watched the London traffic go by.
The hat had been left under the double bed,
completely ignored by the chambermaid,
and not discovered until the next day
when the new guest arrived and checked into the hotel,
a Mr PJ Murphy from Cork city, Republic of Ireland.
Murphy always looked under his hotel bed,
a little safety precaution that had done him no harm
in the past. Indeed, he had found many
a curious item that he'd never told his wife about,
but he would certainly let her know about this exotic-looking hat.
Thus it was that the Iranian hat
found himself at number 9 Robert Emmet Place in central Cork, and his new owner didn't waste a minute
in showing him off to his wife, Maeve.
'It looks like an antique!' PJ told her,
and she agreed, 'it does look rather old.'
'Old?' the Iranian hat could remember
the verses of Thomas Moore
spoken in Persian on a moonlit night,
almost a hundred and twenty years to the day.
Granted, he wasn't as old as the pyramids, but then who was?
PJ placed the hat on his bald head
and looked in the mirror. It was not a match made in heaven.
In fact, hat and wearer looked like Oliver Hardy in the film, 'Sons of the Desert', those farcical scenes where Ollie, with Stan,
attend a Sons of the Desert convention, behind their wives' backs.
PJ, though, seemed happy enough with it.
Maeve, however, secretly vowed to hand the hat into the nearest charity shop to prevent her husband from making any further fool of himself.
And so it was the hat from Iran
ended up in an Oxfam shop in central Cork.
Well, on the outskirts actually, far from the main drag.
2 Euros, he was priced at by Olga, the young Polish girl,
an immigrant to Ireland, just like the fine Iranian velvety-red fez.
To date, he is still looking for a buyer.
'No comment!' is all he'll say
to his new neighbours in the Oxfam shop. 'No comment!'
and no one can be bothered putting manners on him
as he's still very much on his high horse.
Sadly, though, his surroundings are not so opulent
and lofty as before.