Log in

No account? Create an account
Snow Fun

When The Stars Threw Down Their Spears

I've only just become aware that it's National Poetry Day, although by coincidence I did write a poem last week. (No, you may not see it. At least, not yet.)

For as long as I can remember, the title of my LiveJournal Friends page has been 'Some have run a short while, but none of them would bide'. It seemed appropriate for a medium that users pick up and drop, and it comes from this poem:

Lone Dog

I'm a lean dog, a keen dog, a wild dog, and lone;
I'm a rough dog, a tough dog, hunting on my own;
I'm a bad dog, a mad dog, teasing silly sheep;
I love to sit and bay the moon, to keep fat souls from sleep.

I'll never be a lap dog, licking dirty feet,
A sleek dog, a meek dog, cringing for my meat,
Not for me the fireside, the well-filled plate,
But shut door, and sharp stone, and cuff and kick, and hate.

Not for me the other dogs, running by my side,
Some have run a short while, but none of them would bide.
O mine is still the lone trail, the hard trail, the best,
Wide wind, and wild stars, and hunger of the quest!

Irene Rutherford Mcleod

I first came across Lone Dog in I Like This Poem, a classic introduction to the world of poetry which presented poems chosen by children, each with a short paragraph by the child explaining their choice. The very varied contents included Overheard on a Saltmarsh, Chip the Glasses and Crack the Plates, Tarantella and I, Too, Sing America. I don't have the book any more - it probably fell to bits - but I can still remember that the child who chose Lone Dog picked it 'because when I was little I was rough and tough'.

(Another poem in the anthology was Michael Rosen's My Brother is Making a Protest about Bread. When I tried to find it on the internet, Google thought I might want my brother proposed to me.)

Got any poems to share, whether or not they include this year's theme of 'Stars'?


I still have I Like This Poem somewhere, though almost certainly at the bottom of a box. I remember that being one of only two books of poetry I owned at the time. The other was The Puffin Book of Salt-Sea Verse, which I deeply regret having got rid of.
That sounds good! The other book of poems I remember from very early on is, of course, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.
I will admit to having a weakness for the writing of John Betjeman:
    How To Get On In Society by John Betjeman
    Phone for the fish knives, Norman
    As cook is a little unnerved;
    You kiddies have crumpled the serviettes
    And I must have things daintily served.

    Are the requisites all in the toilet?
    The frills round the cutlets can wait
    Till the girl has replenished the cruets
    And switched on the logs in the grate.

    It's ever so close in the lounge dear,
    But the vestibule's comfy for tea
    And Howard is riding on horseback
    So do come and take some with me

    Now here is a fork for your pastries
    And do use the couch for your feet;
    I know that I wanted to ask you-
    Is trifle sufficient for sweet?

    Milk and then just as it comes dear?
    I'm afraid the preserve's full of stones;
    Beg pardon, I'm soiling the doileys
    With afternoon tea-cakes and scones.

[Note: this is a wonderful stabbing satire of "U and non-U" phrases - see Here]

Thank you!! I have never known more than the first line of that one!
No need to call liking Betjeman a weakness, IMO.

Edited at 2012-10-04 01:14 pm (UTC)
I posted mine before I realised there was a star theme. Duh!
It's not very clear, really. I just wondered why #stars kept appearing on Twitter next to #NationalPoetryDay.
Songs a plenty, and a few poems too, but I'm blanking on stars at the moment, possibly because the first book that came to hand was Kipling's Complete Verse. I opened it at random, at Danny Deever (or read it here)...

Slightly more considered browsing found "Hunting Song of the Seeonee Pack", then "The Roman Centurion's Song", "The Pirates in England" and "Dane-Geld" on three consecutive pages. There are sung versions of the last three somewhere in my iTunes collection.

Still no stars, though.

Edited at 2012-10-04 02:15 pm (UTC)
I could have sworn there'd be stars in Seeonee Pack, but it all takes place 'as the dawn was breaking', of course! A favourite.