Poems 24

                              Annalong   (What’s in a name)


I travelled down from Belfast Town

          By sea-fringed I ran along

Where mountain slopes come sweeping down

          To meet the waves at Annalong


 To Annalong I ran along

            The lilting name of Annalong

I sang to every man along

               The swinging road to Annalong!


There is no fame of ancient name,

          No promenade to scan along;

And no one wished, whoever came

          To linger long in Annalong.


To Annalong I ran along –

           The striding road to Annalong

Fly along, fan along

                Hie along to Annalong!


The big ships ride on Belfast tide

           They count the world their span along,

While hugging close the harbour side

          The little ships of Annalong.


To Annalong I ran along –

            Sing a song of Annalong!

Play along; plan along

               Plod along to Annalong!


Now I proclaim, what’s in a name

               That sends me fast as can along!

It could not ever be the same

                  When once I’d looked on Annalong.


To Annalong, I ran along –

            The lovely name of Annalong!

Lin-along, Lan-along

                 Love-along to Annalong!                     Feb 19, 1937

For those of a curious nature, Annalong is on the eastern coast of Northern Ireland close to the Mourne Mountains, slightly north of Kilkeel.



                              The Mess of Pottage


I’m just mutton dressed as lamb,

That’s the kind of man I am

Apeing youth, but ageing fast

A regular icon-o-clast!


I’ve frolicked in my early spring

And taken flight on fancy’s wing

I’ve ridden down the miles all day

With on my lips a roundelay


The singular joys of riding hard

To distant shires – no distance barred

And constant, changeful scenes to see

I thought myself an entity


Then when my early summer came

Pursuit of camping was my aim –

To kick my heels on rubber bed

While framing wisdoms in my head.


The sun was bright, the world still young

The mind was active, strong the lung

A pot of gold was mine to see

And satisfied security.


I’d known the gold on moor and fell

When Autumn spread his lavish spell

Now Autumn holds his hand for me –

A single pot of gold I see!


Not what I’ll do is now my theme

But what I did the constant theme

When in my pensive chair I brood –

How often pensive is my mood!


I’m just mutton dressed as lamb

That’s the kind of man I am

Apeing youth but ageing fast

A regular iconoclast.                  26 Dec 1938

Written beside Bassenthwaite for an old chum.

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