Passes another poet.

I am bookending this post with two photographs. The first shows the damage to Palestinian property in Beit Hanoun in the Gaza strip, caused by the Israeli military response to the launching of rockets from the Gaza strip. The second shows the damage to Israeli property in Ashkelon caused by the rockets that triggered the response. On the one hand devastation and on the other a bit of building repair and panel beating. The car on the left may also have scratches.

The photos serve to highlight the asymmetry of the “War” between Israel and Palestine.

Northern Ireland also suffered the asymmetry of a “War” against the British Army. If you read my blog you will know I seldom mark the deaths of people. I have lots of posts celebrating the births of poets, but I don’t celebrate death. I make an exception this time for Seamus Deane. A Derry Born writer and classmate of no less than Seamus Heaney. A highly respected writer and academic, Deane passed away this week, on the night of the 12th of May, 2021. This poem was inspired by the events of Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972. He could easily have been writing it this week about Jerusalem and Gaza.

After Derry, 30 January 1972; by Seamus Deane

Lightenings slaughtered
the distance. In the harmless houses
faces narrowed. The membrane
of power darkened
above the valley,
and in a flood of khaki
burst. Indigoed
as rain they came
as the thunder radioed
for a further
haemorrhage of flame.

The roads died, the clocks
went out. the peace
had been a delicately flawed
honeymoon signalling
the fearful marriage
to come. Death had been
a form of doubt.
Now it was moving
like a missionary
through the collapsed cities
converting all it came among.

And when the storm passed
we came out of the back rooms
withing we could say
ruin itself would last.
But the dead would not
listen. Nor could we speak
of love. Brothers had been
pitiless. What could ignite
this sodden night?
Let us bury the corpses.
Fast. Death is our future

and now is our past.
There are new children
in the gaunt houses.
Their eyes are fused.
Youth has gone out
like a light. Only the insects
grovel for life, their strange heads
twitching. No one kills them
anymore. This is the honeymoon
of the cockroach, the small
spiderless eternity of the fly.

Eid and Independence

Here we are 7 years on from the last bit of madness in Gaza

I cannot imagine the events today have not been carefully orchestrated. On the one hand the Islamic extremists in Gaza timing their civil violence in Jerusalem to coincide with the end of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr today. On the other hand Israeli extremists timing their civil violence to coincide with the anniversary of the Kfar Etzion massacre and of course Israel Independence day tomorrow.

For 7 years Islamic extremists have stockpiled rockets that they now fire off into Israel in an orgy of violence. For 7 years a hardline Israeli government has supported the Settler Movement in the displacement of Arabs in the West Bank. The Israel/Palestine conflicts seem to follow roughly a 7 year cycle. And each cycle seems to be more bitter, more savage and more destructive than the last.

This year Ireland holds a seat on the UN Security Council. Any attempt at meaningful action in the region will be vetoed by the permanent members of the council. The UN, like the League of Nations before it, has been emasculated.

There will be much talk of protests, boycotts, attempts to send aid. There will be pleas for rational action, scaling back from the brink and peaceful overtures. As long as the USA protects Israel nothing will change. For Benjamin Netanyahu an Olive Branch represents a useful stick to beat someone. Any hope of a return to the 2 state solution proposed by the UN in 1948, rejected by the Arabs at that time, is long gone. Israel will never surrender one acre of the land it has acquired in the last 70 years. It cost too much blood. Palestinians will never accept the dispossession of their lands. Peace is hard work. Hatred is easy. Hate wins votes.

There are no petals soft
no yellow centres
no polished pebble melodies
piled into song
My words are rough-hewn from
these rocks where men toil
the plaintive voices of children
the plod of prisoners feet
the curses of the peasant woman
are the wattle of my song

My pictures are the colour of dust
and I sing only of rust
I have swum in the flood
and I know better
for I am bound to this land
by blood.

From 'I am bound to this land by blood' by Olu Oguibe

One Single Brick

At the very Western end of the Ming Era Great Wall of China sits Jiayuguan (Jiayu Pass). The fort controls the approaches to China along the Silk Roads from the Taklamakan Desert and protects the fertile lands of the Hexi corridor along the Shule river.

On one of the towers of the fort sits a single brick, left behind when the work was compete. It sits on a shelf at the back of the tower, visible but difficult to reach.

This single brick has inspired imaginations as to why it is there. I have heard two different versions of the same story as follows. The supervisor of the fort had a brilliant mathematician working for him. In some stories he is called Yi Kaizhan and he is portrayed as an architect, or a simple workman. When asked to estimate the bricks required for the fort he came up with a number of 99,999. The supervisor is skeptical and insists that they need a contingency. So Yi Kaizhan orders 100,000 bricks. When the fort is complete he places the spare brick on the shelf for everyone to see. Nobody ever doubted his estimates again.

The other version of the story paints the supervisor as a tyrant and a bully. He threatens Yi Kazhan that all the workmen would be condemned to hard labor for three years as a punishment if his calculation is wrong. After the completion of the project, one brick was left over at Xiwong gate. The supervisor was ready to carry out his threat of punishment. However Yi Kaizhan told him the brick was placed there by a magical spirit to stabilize the wall and should anyone remove that brick it would cause the whole structure to collapse. For this reason nobody has been brave enough to risk touching the brick.

寒山頂上月輪孤,

照見晴空一物無。

可貴天然無價寶,

埋在五陰溺身軀。

On top of Cold Mountain the lone round moon
lights the whole clear cloudless sky.
Honor this priceless natural treasure
concealed in five shadows, sunk deep in the flesh.

From “Cold Mountain Poems” by Han Shan (Trans. G Snyder)

General Chaos

I was born during the Buddhist crisis in 1963.

It began in May 1963 when Vietnamese troops shot 9 civilians for flying the Buddhist flag at Vesak, in the city of Hue. While the majority of the Vietnamese were Buddhist the ruling elite, including President Ngo Dinh Diem were Roman Catholic. Under French Occupation the Catholic Church had become the largest landowner in Vietnam. Diem promoted Catholic officers to senior posts in both Civil Service and the Military. In the countryside Catholic militia were better armed than their non-Catholic counterparts. The Catholic Church enjoyed special privileges and the Vatican flag was regularly flown at public events.

The civil unrest of that year was sparked by the killing of the civilians, but released the pent up pressures of years of unequal treatment and suppression of the Buddhist majority. Diem set up concentration camps in 1956 for internment of dissenting Buddhists. In 1959 he dedicated the country to the Virgin Mary. The enduring images from this period are the photos of Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire in protest against the regime.

The Crisis begun in May raged through the Summer leading to a Coup by the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) in November of 1963.

Meanwhile John F. Kennedy, then U.S. President, sent two of his own senior staff to assess the situation, and the potential impact on US support for the Diem regime. US Marine Corps General Victor Krulak came back with a positive report to the effect that the civil unrest was a sideline and the war against the Viet Cong was going well.

Joseph Mendenhall, a senior State Department official came back with a damning report on the status of South Vietnam. He pointed out that the regime was corrupt and inept, and had little support from the general public. He pointed to the nepotism, corruption and military failures of the ARVN.

So divergent were the reports it led to Kennedy asking  “You two did visit the same country, didn’t you?”

Kennedy then sent Robert McNamara and General Maxwell Taylor to re-assess the situation. As a result of their mission Kennedy made plans to begin the removal of US troops from South Vietnam. The recommendations of the McNamara–Taylor mission were swiftly approved at the NSC meeting on October 2, the day I was born.

Later in the day, McNamara made the Presidentially approved media statement that included the announcement of the 1,000 man troop withdrawal by year’s end. 

Diem was assassinated by his Generals. on November 2nd. On November 22nd JFK was assassinated.

In 1964 the administration of Lyndon B Johnson falsified an incident in the Gulf of Tonkin to justify a declaration of war against North Vietnam. This led to 200,000 US casualties of which 60,000 were fatalities. Should have listened to Mendenhall!

This was a favourite poem of John F. Kennedy.

I Have a Rendezvous with Death: by Alan Seeger

I have a rendezvous with Death
at some disputed barricade,
when Spring comes back with rustling shade
and apple-blossoms fill the air
I have a rendezvous with Death
when Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
and lead me into his dark land
and close my eyes and quench my breath
it may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
on some scarred slope of battered hill,
when Spring comes round again this year
and the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows ’twere better to be deep
pillowed in silk and scented down,
where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
where hushed awakenings are dear…
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
at midnight in some flaming town,
when Spring trips north again this year,
and I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Rough Wooing

On this day in 1544 the forces of King Henry VIII set fire to Edinburgh. The eight year war lasting from 1543 to 1551 was the final conflict between England and Scotland before the unification of the Crowns. It became known as the Rough Wooing because Henry wanted to impose the marriage of his son Edward on Mary Queen of Scots. Both were children at the time.

Henry wanted to split the “Auld Alliance” between France and Scotland, which meant if he fought with either he faced war on two fronts.

The tactics employed by the English were to terrorize the Scots into submission through “total war” with violence visited on ordinary civilians and not only on combatants. “We liked not the manner of the wooing, and we could not stoop to being bullied into love” said George Gordon, Earl of Huntly.

Scots Wha Hae; by Robert Burns

Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;
welcome to your gory bed,
or to victory!

Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
see the front o’ battle lour;
see approach proud Edward’s power,
chains and slavery!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward’s grave!
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!

Wha for Scotland’s king and law
freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
freeman stand, or freeman fa’,
Let him follow me!

By oppression’s woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
but they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!
Let us do or die!

Comedic Couplets

Christopher Smart is a poet who does not feature much among the greats. His is not a name on the tip of the tongue. In his lifetime he was mostly seen as a religious poet. Indeed it was his “religious mania” that led to his incarceration on this day in 1757 in St Lukes Hospital for Lunatics in London. It was while in the asylum that he wrote his best work.

He had a naughty side, and a comedic side to him. Aged 13 he is supposed to have penned “To Ethelinda, on her doing my verses the honour of wearing them in her bosom.” The poem I have selected for him is the Epistle to Mrs Tyler. It is a good example of how the couplet works so well for comedy and for spoken delivery. The double entendres in that poem cry out for the speaker to act them out. On the surface it reads like a proper and respectful valediction, but apply “dainty dairy” to refer to the ladies bosom and you get the gist.

Smart was recognized as a brilliant poet by better judges than I. In 1936 W.B. Yeats in the Oxford Book of Modern Verse suggests that A Song to David is the inaugural poem of the Romantic period from someone always classified as one of the Augustans. “Man, passive before a mechanized nature, began to beat against the door of his prison. Yeats could see the poem was more than a religious panegyric of scale and splendor. It is an affirmation of spiritual nature in an age of materialism and science.

Epistle to Mrs. Tyler; by Christopher Smart

It ever was allow’d, dear Madam,
ev’n from the days of father Adam,
of all perfection flesh is heir to,
fair patience is the gentlest virtue;
this is a truth our grandames teach,
our poets sing, and parsons preach;
yet after all, dear Moll, the fact is
we seldom put it into practice;
I’ll warrant (if one knew the truth)
you’ve call’d me many an idle youth,
and styled me rude ungrateful bear,
enough to make a parson swear.

I shall not make a long oration
in order for my vindication,
for what the plague can I say more
than lazy dogs have done before;
such stuff is nought but mere tautology,
and so take that for my apology.

First then for custards, my dear Mary,
the produce of your dainty dairy,
for stew’d, for bak’d, for boil’d, for roast,
and all the teas and all the toast;
with thankful tongue and bowing attitude,
I here present you with my gratitude:

Next for you apples, pears and plums
acknowledgment in order comes;
for wine, for ale, for fowl, for fish—for
ev’n all one’s appetite can wish for:

But O ye pens, and O ye pencils,
and all ye scribbling utensils,
say in what words and in what metre,
shall unfeign’d admiration greet her,
for that rich banquet so refin’d
her conversation gave the mind;
the solid meal of sense and worth,
set off by the desert of mirth;
wit’s fruit and pleasure’s genial bowl,
and all the joyous flow of soul;
for these, and every kind ingredient
that form’d your love—your most obedient.

Troubles in Africa

Today is the birthday of John Hanning Speke, born May 4th, 1827. I have always felt he was an explorer who has been undervalued, undermined and very unfortunate.

He is now credited with the discovery of Lake Victoria and correctly identifying it as a source of the White Nile. But he was not given that credit in his lifetime.

His expeditions in Africa are straight out of “Boys Own” magazine or adventure books like King Solomon’s Mines. On his first expedition to Africa in 1854 he and Richard Burton escaped with their lives having been speared by Somali tribesmen, Burton through the face and Speke through his thigh.

They returned to East Africa in 1856 travelling inland from Zanzibar to find the legendary great lakes. They suffered dreadfully from tropical diseases. Burton had to be carried for much of the trip. Speke was blind for much of the time preventing him from carrying out proper scientific measurements. On Lake Tanganyika when a beetle climbed into his ear he became temporarily deaf and he had to kill it and pick it out with a knife. They could not determine that Tanganyika it is a source of the Congo and not the Nile because they did not have suitable vessels to explore the flows in and out of the lake.

Burton was unable to travel to Lake Victoria so it was Speke who determined that the higher altitude lake was the source of the Nile. At this stage most of the expedition’s survey instruments were lost or broken and Speke measured the altitude by the boiling point of water. Burton, perhaps jealous because he could not make the trip, disputed the findings. The two men had a life-long falling out which blocked recognition of Speke’s discovery.

A return expedition in 1860 saw Speke follow the waters from Victoria to Albert and all the way to Khartoum. But again his findings were disputed, especially by Burton. Tribal rivalries prevented Speke from following the river faithfully all the way and left sufficient room to doubt his findings.

Speke died in 1864 in an unfortunate hunting accident. He vaulted a wall with a loaded shotgun and the weapon discharged into his side at point blank range.

Ten years later in 1874 Henry Stanley was able to confirm that Speke’s findings were correct and Victoria does indeed drain into the Nile. Although the smaller Lake Rweru, on the border between Rwanda and Burundi, which drains down the Kagera River into Lake Victoria is now considered the true source of the Nile.

During his travels in the region Speke noted that the Watusi/Tutsi tribes looked more Ethiopian/Amharic in characteristics than the Bantu Hutu of the region. He conjectured that the Tutsi were the lost tribe of Ham who it was supposed populated Africa after the Flood. This was underpinned by the fact that the Tutsi occupied ruling and military positions in the region with the Hutu serving as Helots to the Tutsi Spartans. The Hamitic hypothesis is a theory since disproven by genetics.

Subsequent colonization polarized this stratification when the Germans created their Ruanda-Urundi colony. They ruled through the Tutsi monarchy. After WW1 Belgium took over administration of the region and by census classified any wealthy farmer as a Tutsi and all the poor as Hutu. The tensions created by this imposed stratification ultimately led to widespread inter-tribal violence and ethnic cleansing in both Rwanda and Burundi in 1993 and 1994.

Rwanda 1994; by Paul Hartal

The Kagera River rises in Burundi blue
it sweeps down from the highlands green.
But then why the river runs red?
Why does it look so sinister?
It hauls the bodies of the dead
its currents carry your sister.

The Kagera River rises in Burundi green
it flows wild to Lake Victoria blue.
But then why the river runs red?
There is no change in the weather.
Yet on the waters float the dead
the currents carry your father.

The Kagera River rises in Burundi white
it drags trees and elephant grass green.
But then why the river runs red?
The day sunny like another.
Yet the streams tow and haul the dead
the currents carry your brother.

The Kagera River rises in Burundi blue
It flows through Rwandan gorges green.
But then why the river runs red?
Why does the village camp smother?
It hauls the corpses of the dead
the currents carry your mother.

Are you WEIRD?

One of the obvious outcomes of a year in lockdown is that East Asians are good at wearing masks and some Americans would rather shoot you than be forced to comply with public safety guidelines. What is that about?

Psychologists have defined the “Western Mindset” with the acronym WEIRD which originally stood for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic. They noticed that people who scored high on these factors behaved more individualistically and less collectively.

The Western mindset is all about “My Rights”. It is very rooted in deontological ethics where the outcome of an action is of less importance than the morality of the action. Each action is judged on its own morality regardless of the collective outcome for society. At the extreme this leads to outcomes that are good for an individual but terrible for society.

The Eastern mindset is about collective wellbeing. It is rooted in utilitarian ethics which seeks the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people. Good for society as a whole, but it can ride roughshod over individual rights.

America is the most WEIRD society on earth. Americans claim that this focus on individuality, the Cowboy spirit, is responsible for the work ethic, inventiveness and great overall wealth. A small number of individuals are incredibly well off, but many people are very poor and disadvantaged.

The opposite of WEIRD is Eastern, Uneducated, Agrarian, Poor and Autocratic. The thinking in the West was that we would see South East Asian nations become less collective and more individualistic as those nations became more democratic, more educated, more industrialized and wealthier.

Now it is emerging that despite radical changes in these nations the collective mentality persists. In time of crisis the people comply, they wear their masks. Psychologists have linked the W in WEIRD to Wheat instead of Western. Even within Eastern nations such as China there is a marked difference in attitudes to individuality driven by the main staple crop of the area.

Wheat is an easier crop to grow. A farmer can plough a field, sow the grain, harvest, thresh and sell the product without major input from other farmers in the village. Not so with a Rice Paddy. The village must make collective decisions about the construction and maintenance of canals, the diverting of water and which fields to flood first. People who need to work together are less critical of their neighbours. This behaviour is also reflected in lower divorce rates. They put their ego on the back burner to deliver the better outcome for the village as a whole.

This societal mentality is resistant to change. Just because Japan became rich and educated did not mean that Japanese became more individualistic, more American. If anything the pandemic will reinforce collective culture. These are the countries that can best cope with lockdown.

If you want to know more READ THIS

Why women make better planners.

Years ago, [writes Sandi Toksvig] when I was studying anthropology at university, one of my female professors held up a photograph of an antler bone with 28 markings on it. “This,” she said, “is alleged to be man’s first attempt at a calendar.” We all looked at the bone in admiration. “Tell me,” she continued, “what man needs to know when 28 days have passed? I suspect that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.” (Original Article in Guardian)

For me this Eureka moment occurred when I was booking my first holiday abroad with my then girlfriend, now wife. Both of us in busy careers were looking through our work calendars and comparing our availability with the pricing structure in the brochure (yes, we had holiday brochures back then). I was balancing work dates with pricing when I noticed Louise was balancing a third layer. She was factoring in her menstrual cycle. Let’s face it, if you have only 2 weeks holiday in the year who wants to spend one of those weeks on a period?

The Sandi Toksvig quote triggered that memory, but also got me thinking about male and female planning. For men planning a night out generally involves putting on suitable clothes for the occasion/venue, making sure you have sufficient funds, a time, a place and that you are clean and smell nice. A very well organized single male might even carry condoms.

When I worked in Marketing and Advertising I carried out a lot of research into how people plan for social events and what I learned about women was fascinating to me. Here are some of my findings for what would be a very simple social outing for a guy.

Women will network and contact each other around 4 days before a night out (Tuesday/Wednesday before a Saturday out) to discuss outfits, to assess how dressy the night will be and to make sure they don’t stand out like a 5th wheel. They may also make sure two of them don’t turn up in the same outfit.

At this stage the women will steer decisions about where they are going to eat if there will be food involved. This one took me totally by surprise, because it was never on my radar as a man. But every man should have a go at having their nails done and put on makeup and lipstick and then try to eat BBQ wings, Ribs and Corn on the Cob. They do not go together. When the ladies dress to impress the food comes with forks.

Women wear a variety of shoe types. One client described her shoes to me as “Kerb Shoes”. I had to ask what that meant. Her explanation “I can walk from the Kerb into the restaurant”. A two kilometer hike from a car park to the restaurant is off the cards if you wear tall stilettoes. Some girls will carry walking flats if they can but for a dressy night out most girls carry a clutch, and you can’t fit flats in a clutch. At this stage I have lost half my male readers because they think I’m writing in Greek. Handbag planning is part of this whole going out thing.

Driving and parking can be a minefield for women. There are volumes of books written on how to be safe. Parking under a light. Assessing the car park as you approach your car. Holding your keys as a weapon. Having the keys in your hand, so you are not rooting in your handbag late at night in a dark car park. Checking there is nobody in your back seat before you get in. Planning all these steps in advance.

We haven’t even touched on female body grooming, waxing, plucking, shaving, fake tan, the stress around booking a suitable hair appointment. Cosmetic toe surgery is a huge business. Women are very conscious of how their feet look in open toed sandals. Pedicures and manicures are part of the routine.

Girls give a lot more thought to their “drink” than men do. Whoever saw a Versache model holding a pint? Balancing liquid volumes with a fun night out leads most women towards spirits. Guys, you have seen the length of queues for the ladies bathrooms in clubs!

I have not even scratched the surface on the layers of planning undertaken by single women on a simple night out with the lads. When you factor in motherhood the planning spreadsheet morphs into a three dimensional Sudoku puzzle.

Women who can convert these life skills for the workplace become truly excellent project managers. Male planners have to work really hard to catch up.

The secret navy of Cobh

Cork, on the South Coast of Ireland, boasts one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Ideally situated on the Western Approaches to Europe Ireland was often the first, or last point of call for transatlantic liners. Before the installation of transatlantic telegraph the Bandon Pilot Cutters in West Cork were the first to receive mail from the Americas and the last to deliver mail to liners bound out from Europe. Fortunes were made in the period between the installation of the Bandon to London telegraph, and the transatlantic telegraph. Knowledge is power.

The town of Cobh was the dedicated port for the largest of the ships. Titanic made her last landfall at Cobh before she headed across the Atlantic on her fateful appointment with an iceberg.

Cobh also played a part in a very secret endeavour during World War 1. Just off Cobh sits the Naval Base island of Haulbowline. In the 1860’s the island was converted by the Royal Navy into a refitting dockyard. It was here in World War 1 that the Royal Navy converted steamers and merchant ships into heavily armed submarine killers.

Under British Rule the town of Cobh was called “Queenstown” so the Royal Navy dubbed their secret navy “Q-Ships”. The German name for them is more literal “U-Boot-Falle” or U-Boat Trap.

The Navy experimented with the Convoy system in WW1 but it turned out to be a failure. They did not have the depth-charges that made destroyers so effective in WW2. Nor did they have the air support to spot U-boats and mark the targets, or the radio communications to inform the destroyers. As a result the Convoy approach was abandoned in WW1. Freighters were generally left to chance, but with the added peril of the Q-Ship.

The theory was to present as an isolated and defenseless target. When the German U-boat surfaced the Q-Ship would attack, all guns blazing and attempt to ram the submarine. U-boats carried only a limited supply of torpedoes, which could be fired while submerged. When the opportunity presented itself the German crews preferred to surface, mount their deck gun and use that to sink freighters. This was when the Q-ship had an advantage.

From a total fleet of 200 Q-Ships the success rate was 14 U-Boats sunk and 60 damaged. After the war a Royal Navy assessment judged that the commitment of resources to the program was not justified by the outcome. The crews manning these vessels could have been more effective in other roles.

The concept of the Q-ship has a romantic appeal and it has been picked up, especially in science fiction.

Kilmeny (A song of the trawlers); by Alfred Noyes

Dark, dark, lay the drifters, against the red west,
as they shot their long meshes of steel overside;
and the oily green waters were rocking to rest
when Kilmeny went out, at the turn of the tide.
And nobody knew where that lassie would roam,
for the magic that called her was tapping unseen.
It was well nigh a week ere Kilmeny came home,
and nobody knew were Kilmeny had been.

She’d a gun at her bow that was Newcastle’s best,
and a gun at her stern that was fresh from the Clyde,
and a secret her skipper had never confessed,
not even at dawn, to his newly wed bride;
and a wireless that whispered above like a gnome,
the laughter of London, the boasts of Berlin.
O, it may have been mermaids that lured her from home,
but nobody knew where Kilmeny had been.

It was dark when Kilmeny came home from her quest,
with her bridge dabbled red where her skipper had died;
but she moved like a bride with a rose at her breast;
and “Well done, Kilmeny!” the admiral cried.
Now at sixty-four fathom a conger may come,
and nose at the bones of a drowned submarine;
but late in the evening Kilmeny came home,
and nobody knew where Kilmeny had been.

There’s a wandering shadow that stares at the foam,
though they sing all night to old England, their queen,
late, late in the evening Kilmeny came home,
and nobody knew where Kilmeny had been.