…at least for this Poetry Month. I’ve really enjoyed taking the time to read poetry again, both new things and some old favourites. I found one last night on line that I remember from when I was quite young. At the time I didn’t understand the structure of it, or why I liked it so much, but I did like it enough to hunt it down many years later. While it looks like free verse, there is a pattern of recurring rhyme.
It’s called “Overheard on a Salt Marsh”, and was written by Harold Munro.
Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?
Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?
Give them me.
Give them me. Give them me.
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.
I will howl in a deep lagoon
For your green glass beads, I love them so.
Give them me. Give them.
I love the recurring “give them me” – the first time I’d ever come across this phrase. I’d always heard the forms “Give them to me” or “give me them”. I liked the way the exchange “Give them me.” “No.” repeated – the goblin as nagging child, the nymph as immovable adult. And the image of the goblin rolling in the mud and the reeds, howling for green glass beads on a silver ring – who could resist that? I blame this poem for a string of green glass beads that I bought many years later – clear, pale green, ridged beads that looked like they might have been made from rippled moonlight on green water.
I suppose the reason I’ve felt it important to share this last poem with you is that it really demonstrates how beautifully and imaginatively crafted words can live in our heads and hearts, influence us in ways we might not have thought.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Poetry Month posts, and I hope you’ve taken time to read, maybe even write, something poetic. If you have, and feel like sharing it here, please do!
Listen to it here.