'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Sunday, 22 March 2009

Poem for Pudding

In my quest to find interesting photos of Wellington last week, I came across this plaque, and after reading it a dozen times and still not really understanding it, I decided to take it home and ask that clever blogger Yorkshire Pudding.  So.  What's it all about, YP?  


  1. As my Bro called me Pud for years, I feel able to add my twopenn'orth here too.
    I think it is saying, that rather than throwing words around like a king his gold, once printing was invented, words could appear on the rustling pages, for those bold enough to get published, so their tales will remain to be counted afted their death.

  2. It certainly isn't 'I never saw a purple cow, I never hope to see one.'

    YP's interpretation will be interesting!

  3. Well, I'm not Yorkshire Pudding, but thanks to your intriguing post I now know about Robin Hyde's (born Iris Guivere Wilkinson) fascinating but short life and also about the Wellington Writers Walk....

  4. I'll try to comment again...
    To me these words are deliberately and frustratingly obtuse. No wonder you asked for other opinions. They sound as if they contain great weight and subtle metaphorical meanings. If this young woman meant anything, I think it was probably a plea for bravery, forthrightness and the upholding of fundamental values in a changing world. Writing should speak to us in terms that receptive and intelligent readers can relate to. For me this piece doesn't do that even though somebody has gone to the trouble of having the utterance carved in stone.

  5. Thanks Jinksy and YP for your inputs...
    Robert - I'm glad to have sent you on a journey along the walk, metaphorically speaking.
    Debbie, ironically for the world, your poem is much better known!

  6. I'm with YP on this - - the person who wrote it didn't want it to be understood. Grrr.

  7. And now I can't resist having a go at "translating" it - - I think it means that the writer used words as the kings used gold - - a lot! - - before paper money was invented "the rustling jest of the paper kings" - but eventually the writer's use of words, which now seems too much, will be held to be appropriate. - - - Though I disagree! I think that writing simply and clearly is something to be aimed for, not deliberate obscurity! Phew.

  8. Oh dear. I'd never heard of Robin Hyde. I'd never read the words on the stone. Since I did a few days ago and since I read the comments I've not been able to stop coming back to them. I haven't been able yet to find the full text of the poem "Words" but, hopefully, I'll find it in the Library tomorrow.

    All this thinking is not good for me!