Do you remember an Inn, Miranda?

Dear Cath

I am a writer. It’s what I do. I love doing it, take enormous satisfaction in weaving words into a story but a gift I have always deeply admired is the ability to give mood, emotion, vibe in the simplest and briefest of words.

Why take three paragraphs to say it when a single line can say it better. True poets can do it and a poem that I have always loved for it’s sheer story telling skill is this one. It is a powerful tale of passion, mourning, grief, dread, fear and loneliness but it’s singsong cadence can lull you into believing something altogether different until you get to the very end.

Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark verandah)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteeers
Who hadn’t got a penny,
And who weren’t paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the Din?
And the Hip! Hop! Hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the twirl and the swirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of a clapper to the spin
Out and in –
And the Ting, Tong, Tang, of the Guitar.
Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?

Never more;
Never more.
Only the high peaks hoar:
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound
In the walls of the Halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground
No sound:
But the boom
Of the far Waterfall like Doom.

Tarantella by Hilaire Belloc

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