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Excerpt from The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

Song from The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

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Norman & Jack Lindsay, ca. 1900-1912, from the State Library of New South Wales

 

“One winter’s morn we rounds the Horn,

A-rollin’ homeward bound.

We strikes the ice, goes down in a trice,

And all on board but Curry and Rice

And me an’ Sam is drowned.

 

“For Sam an’ me an’ the cook, yer see,

We climbs on a lump of ice,

And there in the sleet we suffered a treat

For several months from frozen feet,

With nothin’ at all but ice to eat,

And ice does not suffice.

 

“And Sam and me we couldn’t agree

With the cook at any price.

We was both as thin as a piece of tin

While that there cook was busting his skin

On nothin’ to eat but ice.

 

“Says Sam to me, ‘It’s a mystery

More deep than words can utter;

Whatever we do, here’s me and you,

Us both as thin as Irish stoo,

While he’s as fat as butter.’

 

“But late one night we wakes in fright

To see by a pale blue flare,

That cook has got in a phantom pot

A big plum-duff an’ a rump-steak hot,

And the guzzlin’ wizard is eatin’ the lot,

On top of the iceberg bare.”

 

“There’s a verse left out here,” said Bill, stopping the song, “owin’ to the difficulty of explainin’ exactly what happened when me and Sam discovered the deceitful nature of that cook.  The next verse is as follows:-

 

“Now Sam an’ me can never agree

What happened to Curry and Rice.

The whole affair is shrouded in doubt,

For the night was dark and the flare went out,

And all we heard was a startled shout,

Though I think meself, in the subsequent rout,

That us bein’ thin, an’ him bein’ stout,

In the middle of pushin’ an’ shovin’ about,

He-MUST HAVE FELL OFF THE ICE.”

“That won’t do, you know,” began the Puddin’, but Sam said hurriedly, “It was very dark, and there’s no sayin’ at this date what happened.”

“Yes there is,” said the Puddin’, “for I had my eye on the whole affair and it’s my belief that if he hadn’t been so round you’d have never rolled him off the iceberg.”

 

Norman Lindsay was born on this day in Victoria, Australia in 1879.

The Magic Pudding is said to have been written to settle an argument after a friend of Lindsay’s claimed that children like to read about fairies, while Lindsay asserted that they would rather read about food and fighting.

Philip Pullman has described The Magic Pudding as “the funniest children’s book ever written”. 

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One Evening by W H Auden

Birmingham

Brindley’s Old Main Line, Birmingham

 

One Evening

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
‘Love has no ending.

‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

‘I’ll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

‘The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.’

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
‘O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

 

To read the full poem click here

WH Auden was born on this day in 1907, you can find more of his work by clicking here

Photo by Ted and Jen

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Recreation by Audre Lorde

Audre_LordeRecreation

 

Coming together   

it is easier to work   

after our bodies   

meet

paper and pen

neither care nor profit

whether we write or not

but as your body moves

under my hands   

charged and waiting   

we cut the leash

you create me against your thighs   

hilly with images

moving through our word countries   

my body

writes into your flesh

the poem

you make of me.

 

Touching you I catch midnight   

as moon fires set in my throat   

I love you flesh into blossom   

I made you

and take you made

into me.

 

Audre Lorde was born on this day, in Harlem New York in 1934. 

She features in 50 Queers who changed the world, available in our Out Lit Collection  , celebrating the art, experience and culture of the LGBT community.

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The Love song of Mugoo and Gugoo by Daljit Nagra

The Love Song of Mugoo and Gugoo

Mugoo was a sweeper boy and the cleanest
of the sweeper caste. He would leap at the blush
of dawn to clean the paths and the steps spotless.
Gugoo was a bootmaker girl who made boots.
Gugoo was higher caste than Mugoo. By rights
he was the floor and she was the foot that trod.
Yet after work, while the boys and girls played
at tug of war, wrestling, or archery, shy boy Mugoo
and shy girl Gugoo would draw the boys and girls.
The children smiling at the shining visions would hug
Mugoo and Gugoo. Then that couple would bury
the drawings for fear their elders feel scandalized.
In manhood for Mugoo and womanhood for Gugoo,
how hard that Gugoo thread boots for her father
when she had no golden stitch for the gaping hole
in her soul. How hard that Mugoo scrub the lanes!
Who dare be swept away from the law of caste
by the foul stamp and passport of besotted love?
children

Photo by Sayamindu Dasgupta

To read the full poem click here

Daljit Nagra was born in London in 1966, you can find more of his work here

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I Hid my Love by John Clare

northamptonI Hid my Love

I hid my love when young till I
Couldn’t bear the buzzing of a fly;
I hid my love to my despite
Till I could not bear to look at light:
I dare not gaze upon her face
But left her memory in each place;
Where’er I saw a wild flower lie
I kissed and bade my love good-bye.
I met her in the greenest dells,
Where dewdrops pearl the wood bluebells;
The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye,
The bee kissed and went singing by,
A sunbeam found a passage there,
A gold chain round her neck so fair;
As secret as the wild bee’s song
She lay there all the summer long.
I hid my love in field and town
Till e’en the breeze would knock me down;
The bees seemed singing ballads o’er,
The fly’s bass turned a lion’s roar;
And even silence found a tongue,
To haunt me all the summer long;
The riddle nature could not prove
Was nothing else but secret love.

John Clare was born in Northamptonshire in 1793.  You can read more of his work here

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Mermaid by Moniza Alvi

Mermaid

(after Tabitha Vevers)

About human love,
she knew nothing.
I’ll show you he promised.
But first you need legs.

And he held up
a knife

with the sharpest of tips
to the ripeness of her emerald tail.

She danced an involuntary dance
captive
twitching with fear.

 

You can read the full poem here

Moniza Alvi was born on this day in 1954

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The Victoria Falls by Muriel Spark

The Victoria Falls

 

So hushed, so hot, the broad Zambesi lies

Above the Falls, and on her weedy isles

Swing antic monkeys swarm malignant flies,

And seeming-lazy lurk long crocodiles.

But somewhere down the river does the hush

Become a sibilance that hints a sigh,

A murmur, mounting as the currents rush

Faster, and while the murmur is a cry

The cry becomes a shout, the shout a thunder

Until the whole Zambesi waters pour

Into the earth’s side, agitating under

Infinite spray mists, pounding the world’s floor.

Wrapped in this liquid turmoil who can say

Which is the mighty echo, which the spray?

 

Murial Spark was born on this day in 1918, you can find more of her work here

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