Monday, 7 December 2009

Cautionary Verses

The Llama

(and Sally)

Photo Jeremy White

The llama is a woolly sort of fleecy hairy goat,
With an indolent expression and an undulating throat
Like an unsuccessful literary man.

And I know the place he lives in (or at least - I think I do)
It is Ecuador, Brazil or Chile - possibly Peru;
You must find it in the Atlas if you can.

The Llama of the Pampasses you never should confound
(In spite of a deceptive similarity of sound)
With the Lhama who is Lord of Turkestan.

For the former is a beautiful and valuable beast,
But the latter is not lovable nor useful in the least;
And the Ruminant is preferable surely to the Priest
Who battens on the woeful superstitions of the East,
The Mongol of the Monastery of Shan.

Don't blame me, blame  Hilaire Belloc


  1. Friko

    You can always count on Hilaire Belloc
    To send PC pedlars into shock.

  2. Friko - I was convinced I could 'blame' you for that wonderful verse. I know it could have been you. This time it was not . . . but it could have been. I've always preferred llamas to priests.

  3. Wonderful, and a new discovery for me. How delightful!

  4. OKaaaay. Never thought about llamas and priests in the same arena...

  5. Smiling over here.
    My goats wouldn't appreciate comparisons to llamas - nothing at all priestlike about a goat.

  6. The one-L Lama, he's a priest-
    The two -L Llama, He's a beast-
    But I will bet a silk pajama-
    That there is no three-L lama.

    Ogden Nash; who goes on to inform us that he is referring to a type of conflagration known as a three-alarmer.
    Ogden Nash was famous for this sort of thing.

  7. I do like llamas, and Hilaire Belloc, but I didn't know this poem. Thank you!

  8. Martin H - i wasn't quite sure if I could do that,
    but, what the hell......
    I am getting much braver.

    Bonnie - I am not nearly clever enough, Bonnie, but thanks all the same.

    Deborah - really? quite a well-known chap in the UK . But then. that's how it goes, I am often surprised by bloggers mentioning poets and writers whom I DON'T know.

    Tabor - you must find out about Belloc, he is much given to all sorts of irreverence.

    Pondside - not about a llama either, I'd like to be able to say, but both can be quite unctuous, can't they.

    Lane Savant - Is this another instance of 'divided by a common language'? I think the Lhama as priest has an 'h' in UK English. But I can forgive Ogden Nash anything. When my poetry group is being particularly heavy-handed, I trot him out.

    When I am Rich - happy to oblige.


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