an ague hath my ham

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A poem by Ezra Pound was a fixture on our kitchen bulletin board when I was a child. It had come from my Aunt Lily, who was my mother’s closest sibling, in both age and temperament. I read it repeatedly, barely comprehending it, and certainly unclear about the fact that it seemed to provide my mother with great amusement, especially come autumn.

These days I understand. Though eastern Washington, especially here in Walla Walla County, is enjoying a thrilling and spectacular Indian Summer, with gorgeous colors and warm, sunny days, the night are chill and the end of Daylight Savings time draws ever closer. And by God, an ague hath my ham!

So here you go, Ancient Music, by Ezra Pound, based on a traditional English round written about 1250.

Ancient Music

Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damm you; sing: Goddamm.

Goddamm, Goddamm, ’tis why I am, Goddamm,
So ’gainst the winter’s balm.

Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

3 comments:

Kevin Pogue said...

You know what's good for you when your ham's got an ague? Sixteen bottles of 10 year+ old classified growth Bordeaux. See you tonight Paul...

PaulG said...

Yessir! Looking forward to this excellent tasting. And should by extreme bad luck my fine old Bordeaux be corked, you may rest assured I will Sing: Goddamm!

Kevin Pogue said...

Ah good sir, as the fates would have it, t'was my fine old Bordeaux t'was tainted! So I sing to thee (and to K and L) - Goddamm!

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