An irresistible follow up to yesterday's poem...
(Poem #594) Overheard on a Salmarsh
Nymph, nymph, what are your beads? Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them? Give them me. No. Give them me. Give them me. No. Then I will howl all night in the reeds, Lie in the mud and howl for them. Goblin, why do you love them so? They are better than stars or water, Better than voices of winds that sing, Better than any man's fair daughter, Your green glass beads on a silver ring. Hush, I stole them out of the moon. Give me your beads, I want them. No. I will howl in the deep lagoon For your green glass beads, I love them so. Give them me. Give them. No.
Today's delightfully whimsical poem calls for little explanation - I just like the image of a goblin and a nymph squabbling over a handful of green glass beads. This is a genre of poetry that I loved as a child, both for its playfulness and for the unexpected directions it would take my imagination, and age has done little to diminish its appeal. And 'Overheard on a Salmarsh' is an excellent example of the genre - simple, but startlingly evocative; indeed I was surprised at how few words it took to conjure up a detailed mental picture (doubtless straight out of an illustration to a book of fairy tales, but then, that was probably precisely the intended effect). The language too is that perfect mixture of the fairy-tale and the poetic that reaches out to children without in any way condescending to them. And this is truly a poem to be read aloud - try it and see how the rhymes, the metre, the interspersed voices all come together in an utterly captivating narrative. Note: I believe Salmarsh to be a corruption of saltmarsh (a sea-flooded marsh), but can't confirm this. Can anyone shed some light on the issue? Biography: Harold Monro The publisher of the various anthologies of Georgian Poetry, Harold Monro, was born in Brussels in 1879. He describes himself as "author, publisher, editor and book-seller." Monro founded The Poetry Bookshop in London in 1912, a unique establishment having as its object a practical relation between poetry and the public, and keeping in stock nothing but poetry, the drama, and books connected with these subjects. His quarterly Poetry and Drama (discontinued during the war and revived in 1919 as The Monthly Chapbook), was in a sense the organ of the younger men; and his shop, in which he has lived for the last seven years except while he was in the army, became a genuine literary center. Of Monro's books, the two most important are Strange Meetings (1917) and Children of Love (1919). "The Nightingale Near the House," one of the loveliest of his poems, is also one of his latest and has not yet appeared in any of his volumes. -- http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/poetry/poems/harold_monro.html On Georgian Poetry: a variety of lyrical poetry produced in the early 20th century by an assortment of British poets, including Lascelles Abercrombie, Hilaire Belloc, Edmund Charles Blunden, Rupert Brooke, William Henry Davies, Ralph Hodgson, John Drinkwater, James Elroy Flecker, Wilfred Wilson Gibson, Robert Graves, Walter de la Mare, Harold Monro (editor of The Poetry Review), Siegfried Sassoon, Sir J.C. Squire, and Edward Thomas. Brooke and Sir Edward Marsh, wishing to make new poetry accessible to a wider public, with Monro, Drinkwater, and Gibson, planned a series of anthologies. To this series they applied the name "Georgian" to suggest the opening of a new poetic age with the accession in 1910 of George V. Five volumes of Georgian Poetry, edited by Marsh, were published between 1912 and 1922. (See Marsh, Sir Edward Howard.) The real gifts of Brooke, Davies, de la Mare, Blunden, and Hodgson should not be overlooked, but, taken as a whole, much of the Georgians' work was lifeless. It took inspiration from the countryside and nature, and in the hands of less gifted poets, the resulting poetry was diluted and middlebrow conventional verse of late Romantic character. "Georgian" came to be a pejorative term, used in a sense not intended by its progenitors: rooted in its period and looking backward rather than forward. -- EB [Which is sad - at their best, poets like Flecker, Brooke and indeed Monro were anything but lifeless. I have personally found considerable enjoyment in leafing through collections of Georgian poetry. -m.] Links: Some poems similar in theme or mood: poem #252, poem #312. and, of course, yesterday's poem #593. We've run several other poems by Georgian poets - see the index at [broken link] http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/index_poet.html -martin