Ballade un peu banale

Original Text: 
. J. M. Smith, The Complete Poems, ed. Brian Trehearne (London, Ontario: Canadian Poetry Press, 2007): .
1The bellow of good Master Bull
2    Astoundeth gentil Cow
3That standeth in the meadow cool
4    Where cuckoo singeth now.
5She stoppeth in a moony trance
6    Beneath the timeless trees
7While ebon-bellied shad-flies dance
8    About her milk-white knees.
9He snuffeth her from distant field--
10    Sly Farmer Pimp approves:
11To him the gates and latches yield;
12    He smiles upon their loves
13Bull boometh from the briary bush,
14    Advanceth, tail aloft--
15The meadow grass is long and lush,
16    The oozy turf is soft.
17He stampeth with his foremost foot,
18    His nostrils breathing bale;
19Uncouth, unhallowed is his suit;
20    The vestal turneth tail.
21He feinteth with his ivory horn,
22    Bites rump, bites flank, bites nape--
23Sweet Saviour of a Virgin born,
24    How shall this maid escape!
25He chaseth her to pasture wall;
26    She maketh stand, poor bird!
27He wields his tail like an iron flail.
28    Alas! he presseth hard!
29                * * *
30I like to think sweet Jesu Christ,
31    For His dear Mother's sake,
32By some miraculous device,
33    Her to Himself did take;
34That her preserv'd Virginity
35    Flutes holy flats and sharps
36In that divine vicinity


37] Eliot's hippo: T. S. Eliot's The Hippopotamus. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright © the estate of A.J.M. Smith. Included
with the generous permission of William Toye, his literary executor.