This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Saturday Rave: Overheard on a Salmarsh by Harold Monro.

There may be goblins out there, somewhere.

I can't be sure.

I'm pretty sure a goblin will never come up to me and start talking about the weather, though, because if there are such creatures they'll not be interested in me or my world: not when they have their own to glory in.

But perhaps, if I was somewhere where humans can't live comfortably - the woods, perhaps, or a marsh - then just perhaps I might get a glimpse of something.

I can't help but hold onto some faint hope...


I love this poem for a dozen reasons. The two main ones are the sound of the words, and the inhuman energy of the dialogue.

(By the way, a salmarsh is the same thing as a saltmarsh.)


Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

Give them me.


Give them me. Give them me.


Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water,
Better than voices of winds that sing,
Better than any man’s fair daughter,
Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush, I stole them out of the moon.

Give me your beads, I want them.


I will howl in a deep lagoon
For your green glass beads, I love them so.
Give them me. Give them.



Word To Use Today: goblin. From the Middle High German kobalt.


  1. What a delightful little poem!
    I imagined the goblin as Gollum from "Lord of the Rings."
    I think it was the 'Give them me. Give them" that did it!

    1. Isn't that one of the most wonderful things about words - they give every single person who hears them a different picture in his head.

  2. I've known this poem almost all my life and LOVE it! And what a smashing photo!

    1. Thanks, Adele. It's a poem to learn off by heart and keep as a treasure, but it always makes me wonder if there is a real Sal Marsh anywhere.

      But then, if there is, she probably doesn't know about this poem. Why, I once knew an Elizabeth Bennet who'd never heard of Pride and Prejudice!