The city of gosh
as Glug blamed Glug
“And now,” Said the teacher . . .
O’er the prophecy pored
Quog took the chair
on the royal door-mat
taking the air
Let him who is minded to meet with a Glug
Pluck three hardy hairs from a rabbit-skin rug;
Blow one to the South, and one to the West,
Then burn another and swallow the rest.
And who shall explain ’tis the talk of a fool,
He’s a Glug! He’s a Glug of the old Gosh school!
And he’ll climb a tree, if the East wind blows,
In a casual way, just to show he knows . . .
Now, tickle his toes!
Oh, tickle his toes!
And don’t blame me if you come to blows.
—Old gosh rhyme
Follow the river and cross the ford,
Follow again to the wobbly bridge,
Turn to the left at the notice board,
Climbing the cow-track over the ridge;
Tip-toe soft by the little red house,
Hold your breath if they touch the latch,
Creep to the slip-rails, still as a mouse,
Then . . . run like mad for the bracken patch.
Worm your way where the fern fronds tall
Fashion a lace-work over your head,
Hemming you in with a high, green wall;
Then, when the thrush calls once, stop dead.
Ask of the old grey wallaby there—
Him prick-eared by the woollybutt tree—
How to encounter a Glug, and where
The country of Gosh, famed Gosh may be.
But, if he is scornful, if he is dumb,
Hush! There’s another way left. Then come.
On a white, still night, where the dead tree bends
Over the track, like a waiting ghost,
Travel the winding road that wends
Down to the shore on an Eastern coast.
Follow it down where the wake of the moon
Kisses the ripples of silver sand;
Follow it on where the night seas croon
A traveller’s tale to the listening land.
Step not jauntily, not too grave,
Till the lip of the languorous sea you greet;
Wait till the wash of the thirteenth wave
Tumbles a jellyfish out at your feet.
Not too hopefully, not forlorn,
Whisper a word of your earnest quest;
Shed not a tear if he turns in scorn
And sneers in your face like a fish possessed.
Hist! Hope on! There is yet a way.
Brooding jellyfish won’t be gay.
Wait till the clock in the tower booms three,
And the big bank opposite gnashes its doors,
Then glide with a gait that is carefully free
By the great brick building of seventeen floors;
Haste by the draper who smirks at his door,
Straining to lure you with sinister force,
Turn up the lane by the second-hand store,
And halt by the light bay carrier’s horse.