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Story-Time -- Edgar Guest

       
(Poem #733) Story-Time
 "Tell us a story," comes the cry
 From little lips when nights are cold,
 And in the grate the flames leap high.
 "Tell us a tale of pirates bold,
 Or fairies hiding in the glen,
 Or of a ship that's wrecked at sea."
 I fill my pipe, and there and then
 Gather the children round my knee.

 I give them all a role to play--
 No longer are they youngsters small,
 And I, their daddy, turning gray;
 We are adventurers, one and all.
 We journey forth as Robin Hood
 In search of treasure, or to do
 Some deed of daring, or of good,
 Our hearts are ever brave and true.

 We take a solemn oath to be
 Defenders of the starry flag;
 We brave the winter's stormy sea,
 Or climb the rugged mountain crag,
 To battle to the death with those
 Who would defame our native land;
 We pitch our camp among the snows
 Or in the tropics burning sand.

 We rescue maidens, young and fair,
 Held captive long in prison towers;
 We slay the villain in his lair,
 For we're possessed of magic powers.
 And though we desperately fight,
 When by our foes we are beset,
 We always triumph for the right;
 We have not lost a battle yet.

 It matters not how far we stray,
 Nor where our battle lines may be,
 We never get so far away
 That we must spend a night at sea.
 It matters not how high we climb,
 How many foes our pathway block,
 We always conquer just in time
 To go to bed at 9 o'clock.
-- Edgar Guest
A charming poem - the magic of childhood, with its ready access to rich,
imaginary worlds, is described somewhat indulgently; the 'from the outside'
tone is beautifully done. I also loved the ending - totally unexpected, yet
not at all out of place.

And despite the slightly detached viewpoint, the poem is written with
genuine sympathy - I was reminded in places of Ransome's classic 'Swallows
and Amazons' (highly recommended, incidentally), with its similar "yes, we
know it's all make-believe, but hey - we're having fun" spirit.

Links:

Biography of Guest: poem #496

-martin

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