Wednesday 23 January 2013

The Unfortunate Poet

“Oh Exmoor! where the wild horses roam
Ungulate, elegant and free!”
                                    (from N. Swift: A Tour of Britain)

Algernon Swift’s cousin, Nigel, is a poet whose poetry has the habit of leading him down some unfortunate cul-de-sacs.  To take a few examples from his poem on the restorative powers of Nature:

And wandering by the lake it seems to me
That all things in the world we love – dear rocks!
Dear trees! Dear rocks and trees and oh! ye clouds! –
Have in the human mind their images
Much like as in this lake, by which I stand
Reflecting ...


... Then by my thoughts only pursued
I wander like a deer upon the heath
And there at length I ruminate ... *

Now Nigel has embarked on a tour of Britain, with the intention to write a short poem about each place he visits.  His first stop is on Exmoor, where he encounters some of its famous wild ponies (“their wild hair tossing in the wind for the mane part”) but the change of scene has not improved his poetry:

Never will custom’s cruel bridle
strangulate the free and noble ungulate
of this moor.  Here, unfettered by the constraints of man,
these horses bear witness to their true natures
and, free to foot the wind, act only as behooves them ...


More and, no doubt, worse will follow ...

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Affairs of the Hat

Everyone is familiar with the song “I Left My Hat in San Francisco”  but here at Hawker’s Pot we prefer Celine Dion’s truly majestic
“My Hat Will Go On”
in which 

a man wearing a hat boards the Titanic in Liverpool; 

the Titanic sinks; 

the man’s hat arrives in New York two months later.

( -- although a tiny bit of research shows that the song originally had nothing to do with the Titanic and was entirely about Miss Dion trying to get her hat on.)


Meanwhile, it’s a fine line between love and hat, and love-talk is never easy:
he:   Oh you darling beautiful woman, I have lost my hat!  Entirely!
she:  Well, how about that?  Did you leave it on a luggage rack?  Or did the wind blow it off in the park?
he:   I meant, my heart!
she:  Or did a dog run away with it?  Did it get stuck in a tree?
he:   How can you laugh at me, when it is because of you my hat is no longer my own? 
she:  Your hat! (she continues to laugh)
he:   You are, without a doubt, a hard-hatted woman.  I should have seen it at once.
she:  Yes, I like to keep it on at all times – one never knows what’s going to happen. 

(Her unwilling adorer continues to beg for the return of his fedora, but his hat-felt pleas fall on deaf ears.)