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Archive for March, 2010

I’m a pilgrim.

About to walk the French leg of the Camino of St. James. From Le Puy in south central France to St Jean Pied-de-Port near the Atlantic Coast. Nearly eight hundred kilometres.

While I’m gone, my house and bamboo will be in the hands of Kevin the Queeenslander. Anyone wanting to see the moso had better wait till I get back, since Kevin doesn’t want visitors. To tell the truth, he even scares me. And I’m not sure if the creature in his company is a doberman crossed with a dingo or one of his many cousins. Didn’t want to ask really.

So it’s farewell to all this for some months:

And hello to Le Puy-en-Velay:

I dunno. Just thought I’d do it.

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Here’s the worst stanza of what many consider the worst poem ever published, William McGonagall’s The Tay Bridge Disaster:

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

My God. It’s…

It’s…

Here, on the other hand, are verses which are the purest doggerel, yet constitute one of the English language’s finest ballad/lyric pieces. Don’t argue! I love this one!

Sally in our Alley

Of all the Girls that are so smart
There’s none like pretty SALLY,
She is the Darling of my Heart,
And she lives in our Alley.
There is no Lady in the Land
Is half so sweet as SALLY,
She is the Darling of my Heart,
And she lives in our Alley.

Her Father he makes Cabbage-nets,
And through the Streets does cry ’em;
Her Mother she sells Laces long,
To such as please to buy ’em:
But sure such Folks could ne’er beget
So sweet a Girl as SALLY!
She is the Darling of my Heart,
And she lives in our Alley.

When she is by I leave my Work,
(I love her so sincerely)
My Master comes like any Turk,
And bangs me most severely;
But, let him bang his Belly full,
I’ll bear it all for SALLY;
She is the Darling of my Heart,
And she lives in our Alley.

Of all the Days that’s in the Week,
I dearly love but one Day,
And that’s the Day that comes betwixt
A Saturday and Monday;
For then I’m drest, all in my best,
To walk abroad with SALLY;
She is the Darling of my Heart,
And she lives in our Alley.

My Master carries me to Church,
And often am I blamèd,
Because I leave him in the lurch,
As soon as Text is namèd:
I leave the Church in Sermon time,
And slink away to SALLY;
She is the Darling of my Heart,
And she lives in our Alley.

When Christmas comes about again,
O then I shall have Money;
I’ll hoard it up, and Box and all
I’ll give it to my Honey:
And, would it were ten thousand Pounds;
I’d give it all to SALLY;
She is the Darling of my Heart,
And she lives in our Alley.

My Master and the Neighbours all,
Make game of me and SALLY;
And (but for her) I’d better be
A Slave and row a Galley:
But when my seven long Years are out,
O then I’ll marry SALLY!
O then we’ll wed and then we’ll bed –
But not in our Alley.

— Henry Carey

It’s best read with a longish pause before that last, rhythm-breaking line. Because our helpless bumpkin turns out to be sublimely shrewd, like the poem’s author.

And don’t argue!

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