I remember a poem we read at school which began
"Oh to scuttle from the battle and to settle on an atoll" and went on something like "far from mortal struggle" and ended up something like
"but I suppose I'll have to settle for somewhere practical like Bootle!"
I still quote bits of it when stress strikes but have never been able to find again the full version or author.
Anyone out there know it??
Sounds like Kipling
I found this quote at
- don't know if this helps at all, but it might stir up a few more memories if it's from the same poem..
"But I guess that what'll happen if you settle on an atoll
is you'll get in rotten fettle living totally on nettle
turtle cuttlefish and beetle, vittles fatal to the natal
[Apologies to the author - I forget where I got that.]"
Sounds rather Seuss-like.
Ok - I know it's ridiculous to reply to a post from 6 yrs ago - but I think I remember most of this poem - and if anybody is out there (!) I'll send it in.
surely not Kipling - maybe a parody of him?
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/25/2009 07:35PM by helenhighwater.
No, it's not ridiculous to reply to ancient posts. If nothing else it makes it available for others who might have the same query and it shows up on Google.
I spent several years finding out who really was the driver in the crash behind "Death is in charge of the clattering train."
Pray, tell. Who was it?
The driver was William Pitt and his fireman was Joseph Pitcher. The thread is here [www.emule.com] and the account of the accident is near the bottom.
Here I am back again - the originator of this discussion 8 years ago! I see 'helenhighwater' replied in November 2009 but didnt actually post the poem. Are you still out there Helen??
Hi Peter - amazing that such a desultory conversation reaps results!
I have a recording of this, made by a BBC announcer (I used to work for the BBC in the UK) dating from sometime in the 1980s...of course, it's in an obsolete formula - reel to reel tape! And I'm not entirely sure I can remember all of it.
In so far as I can - it goes like this.
Oh to scuttle from the battle
And to settle on an atoll
Far from brutal mortal,
Neath a wattle portal
And not scuttle after
Brittle yellow metal.
But I bet that what'll happen
If I live life on an atoll
Is I'll get in rotten fettle
Living totally on nettle,
Turtle, cuttlefish and beetle,
Vittles fatal to the natal
Elan vital - and hit the bottle.
I guess I'll settle
For somewhere ethical and practical,
I have no idea of the verse form, the poet - or any lines I may have left out;
it seems to me end of the 19th, early 20h century; obviously english, period of W.S. Gilbert, G.K. Chesterton, Kipling etc, but to date google reveals no clues!
I wonder if we're the last generation with an endless store of half remembered
verses stored up inside?!
Hi Helen many thanks and Im sure thats very near to the version I read in a poetry Book at Grammar School in Sheffield, probably around 1963. Very strange that Google has no trace.