The Song of Wandering Annie
(From the sequence Being in Blaina)
I went to find a hazel wood
Because a fire was in my head
But all I found was bricks and mud
So I made use of those instead
To build myself a shabby truth;
A dispossessed imperatrix,
Watching the disaffected youth
Slinging mud and chucking bricks.
There goes old Jack, who picks up litter
And walks with one foot in the gutter.
He spies a gift-bag, gold and glitter;
With gleeful grab and merry mutter
He dons it like a baby’s bonnet.
The handles swing like spaniels’ ears.
His face has God’s own grin upon it
And mine has unexpected tears.
And now along the road comes Lenny
Making a beeline straight for me
And growls like a baboon Yewenny
Munny furra cuppa tea?
And I say no and wish I hadn’t;
Wish I did and wish he wouldn’t.
He shrugs, he grunts and off he lurches,
Bending and squinting as he searches
For soggy dog-ends, pearls to squirrel
In furtive folds of his apparel.
And so I go about the parish
Sifting through the scattered rubbish
For things that only such as I
Would seize and cherish, drifting by,
Picking up, like Jack and Lenny
Pomes to offer for a penny
One for them and one for you.
Here’s a new one – will it do?
The initial caps are intended to preserve the
link with Yeats's Song
of Wandering Aengus. “Pomes” is pinched from Joyce.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Ann Drysdale would
be pleased to hear them.