Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday afternoon poems

By Heraclitus

I kept waiting for the winter to get sufficiently bad to post this second poem, but then I realized that, since I don't live in a city, it's never going to get all that bad. I'm never going to have to deal with feet of grey snow packed against the curb, giant puddles along the side of the road that get sprayed all over you when a car drives by, etc., etc. Living in a village rather than a city just means a massive increase in your quality of life.

Anyways, here are the poems. The first is one of the oldest poems in the English language. Here it is in Middle English (I believe) and in a modern English translation. For more information on the poem, which was originally the lyrics to a round, see

Svmer is icumen in
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
and springþ þe wde nu.
Sing cuccu!
Summer is a-coming in
Loudly sing cuckoo
Groweth seed and bloweth mead
and springs the wood anew
Sing cuckoo!
Awe bleteþ after lomb,
lhouþ after calue cu,
Bulluc sterteþ, bucke uerteþ.
Murie sing cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu,
Wel singes þu cuccu.
ne swik þu nauer nu!
Sing cuccu nu, Sing cuccu!
Ewe bleateth aft-er lamb,
Calf loweth after cow,
Bullock starteth, buck farteth,
Merry sing cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo!
Well singest thou cuckoo,
Nor cease thou never now!
Sing cuckoo now, Sing cuckoo!
Sing cuccu, Sing cuccu nu!
Foot (or Bass)
Sing cuckoo, Sing cuckoo now!


About seven hundred years later, Ezra Pound wrote a version for a different season:

"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,
Damn 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.

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home