Tuesday 8 December 2015

Jane looked like a dark lantern, burning.

It's more Masefield, if you don't like it, eat a dick*.

The first half of 'Reynard' is made up of verse-pictures of the entire fox-hunting party and they are really good. It's also one of the few times you'll ever here Masefield actually talk about women. turns out he can do it pretty well, so, I suppose, well done John?

There are too many to relate but here's my preferred adventuring party assembled from that poem.

The parson and his sporting wife,
She was a stout one, full of life
With red, quick, kindly, manly face.
She held the knave, queen, king and ace,
In every hand she played with men.
She was no sister to the hen,
But fierce and minded to be queen,
She wore a coat and skirt of green,
A waistcoat cut of hunting red,
Her tie pin was a fox's head.


Jane looked like a dark lantern, burning.
Outwardly dark, unkempt, uncouth,
But minded like the living truth,
A friend that nothing shook nor wearied.
She was not 'Darling Jane'd', nor 'dearied'd',
She was all prickles to the touch,
So sharp that many feared to clutch,
So keen, that many thought her bitter.
She let the little sparrows twitter.
She had a hard ungracious way.
Her storm of hair was iron-grey.,
And she was passionate in her heart
For women's souls that burn apart,
Just as her mother's had, with Squire.
She gave a sense of smouldering fire.
She was not happy being a maid,
At home, with Squire, but she stayed
Enduring life, however bleak,
To guard her sisters who were weak,
And force a life for them from Squire.
And she had roused and stood his fire
A hundred times, and earned his hate,
To win those two a better state.


Steer Harpit came from Rowell Hill,
A small, frail man, all heart and will**,
A sailor as his voice betrayed.
He let his whip-thong droop and played
At snicking off the grass blades with it.


Then on a horse which bit and bucked
(the half-broke four-year old Marauder)
Came Minton-Price of th' Afghan border
Lean, puckered, yellowed, knotted, scarred,
Tough as hide-rope twisted hard,
Tense tiger-sinew knit to bone.
Strange-wayed from having lived alone
With Kafir, Afghan and Beloosh
In stations frozen in the Koosh
Where nothing but the bullet sings.
His mind had conquered many things
Painting, mechanics, physics, law,
White-hot, hand-beaten things to draw
Self-hammered from his own soul's stithy,
His speech was blacksmith-sparked and pithy.
Danger has been his brother bred;
The stones had often been his bed
In bickers with the border-thieves.

* Unless you're into dicks, in which case, no more for you!

** Low STR, high WIS and CON

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