Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Poetry 29: Rudyard Kipling

I came across this poem in a Young Adult fiction book by Louise Plummer (I think it was A Dance for Three). Besides being absolutely delighted with this poem, I am tickled that she managed to expose people who read her book for a great story to a great poem. And, by the way, I'm looking forward to studying with Louise Plummer in June at the BYU WIFYR conference, where I will take my novel--which, yes, I have been revising again.

Seal Lullaby
by Rudyard Kipling

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us

And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, O'er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft by the pillow.
Oh, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, no shark shall overtake thee
Asleep in the storm of slow-swinging seas.

Ah, would that I were such a master of rhyme and sounds. Go ahead--read it again, out loud this time. Such craft and cleverness!


Anonymous said...

This sounded so familiar that I went a-Googling and found that there's a nursery rhyme based on this poem attributed to Sir Walter Scott:

Oh, hush thee, my baby,
Thy sire was a knight,
Thy mother a lady,
Both lovely and bright;
The woods and the glens,
From the towers which we see,
They all are belonging,
Dear baby, to thee.
Oh, hush thee, my baby,
Thy sire was a knight,
Oh, hush thee, my baby,
So bonnie, so bright.
Oh, fear not the bugle,
Tho' loudly it blows,
It calls but the warders
That guard thy repose;
Their bows would be bended,
Their blades would be red,
Ere the step of a foeman
Draws near to thy bed.
Oh, hush thee, my baby,
Thy sire was a knight,

Not by any means identical, just a similar feeling.

Apparently Shawn Colvin also has a recording with the lyrics to the Seal Lullabye. I bet it's pretty.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I was bothered by how the "no shark shall overtake thee" line didn't scan right, but Google says it's actually "nor shark overtake thee," which does scan right.

Also, I have no idea how I stumbled on this, but I've been following a group blog called "The Apron Stage" where Louise Plummer is one of the contributors.