The Ting, Tong, Tang of the Guitar

Tarantella

Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
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 veranda)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
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 swirl and the twirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Glancing,
Dancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of the clapper to the spin
Out and in–
And the ting, tong, tang of the guitar!
Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?

Never more;
Miranda,
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.

~ Hilaire Belloc (1870 – 1953)

My sister read this poem to me when I was … (I can’t remember how old I was, but younger than ten) … and I had no idea what it was about except that it made me feel like I was dancing and twirling and clapping – just as it says in the first stanza, and rhythm says so too. I have loved the music of poetry since that day.

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2 thoughts on “The Ting, Tong, Tang of the Guitar

  1. Oh I so love this! Thanks for introducing it to me, Daphne. It a little bit reminiscent of Edith Sitwell’s poems for William Walton’s Façade, words and phrases that purr along, not quite making the sense you’re expecting but satisfying nevertheless.

    Liked by 1 person

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