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The American Morris Newsletter

December, 2007 -- Volume 27, Number 3


Two Poems

Dudley Laufman


Spring Bank Holiday - every year

Them lucky lads of the Bampton Morris
some of em scarcely
more'n 12 yrs old
start their day with Highland Mary
dance all day long
trudging by sunset
their bells almost to their ankles

One of em watches the fiddler
who plays just like the Jinky
ruff and a bit flat
and you know the lad
wants to do it
exactly the same way
you can tell by the way he looks

So they sit there
at the Romany Inn
it's getting on towards midnight
(one of em has already gone home)
waiting to dance the
last one of the day and year
which will be Highland Mary
to The Quaker
wondering how they will
pass the time til next year


Bampton in the Bush, Oxfordshire, England, Whit Monday 2004

(Read at the occasion of Dave Stryker's memorial service in August, 2007)

O dancing is a great thing,
A great thing to me!
Thomas Hardy

You wonder how it must be
for old athletes like Johnny Pesky
Joe Cronin Ted Williams
Maurice Richard Woody Dumart
to have to retire their bats
hang up their skates
Must be the same for musicians
or old morris dancers
but these guys they
still go to the games concerts
or street shows
most of them anyway
For some it must be tough
In Bampton England for instance
there's old Francis Shergold
brown wrinkled
in full Bampton Morris kit
pint of bitter in hand
watches his side dance The Webbly
outside the Horse Shoe Inn

His younger brother Roy
like a walnut
best dancing fool
Bampton ever had
passes by on the
other side of street
hoe on shoulder
on his way to
dig in someone's orchard
barely waves

Francis saying
Look at them lucky lads
Aren't they having a good time

I used to dance like that
wish I could now
can't get the
old knees up can I

Francis thinking
I'll have another pint
then go home
sit in the garden

Contact Dudley at