Wednesday 16 May 2012

The high Pyrenees

Three souvenirs from a holiday during the early 1990s.  They were probably picked randomly at the time but  as soon as I saw them again, together, they reminded me of Hilaire Belloc's poem, Tarantella:

Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark verandah)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteeers
Who hadn't got a penny,
And who weren't paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the Din?
And the Hip! Hop! Hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the twirl and the swirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of a clapper to the spin
Out and in --
And the Ting, Tong, Tang, of the Guitar.
Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
Never more;
Never more.
Only the high peaks hoar:
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound
In the walls of the Halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground
No sound:
But the boom
Of the far Waterfall like Doom.
I must have studied this at school because I remember that the first part of the poem is the rhythm of dance.  the second is looking back to the long lost memory, the inn now abandoned and the mountain peaks old and grey.

Strange the things that will trigger a memory, and strange that I should pick up these three cards which fit the poem so well.


  1. This was one of you better posts Sheila.

  2. Nice poem by Hilaire Belloc. He is Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. Is that same poet ..?

  3. Whoa. The only Hilaire Belloc I'd heard of before today was the oldest world's bantam weight champion who won a bronze medal in the 1912 Olympics. No poet, mine. He was a blacksmith in Bavaria who was killed when a horse kicked him.

    The poem send shivers down my spine. I love it. Especially the second part. Did you know Pete Seeger can play the Tarantella on a soprano recorder while dancing the complicated dance? Or used to. He is over 90 now.

    1. I'm very happy you like the poem. It rings some bells for me. :) No, I didn't know Pete Seeger could do that. Are you sure?

  4. Hi from a fellow postcard collector, though i am a newbie to it. You have some really interesting cards on your blog and i will enjoy reading it.


    1. Hi Gill! Many thanks for your visit! I will be across soon to visit you.


Welcome to my postcard collection! I love hearing what you think of the cards - but spam WILL be deleted.

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