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Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929)

Woodbine Willie


              1They gave me this name like their nature,
              2    Compacted of laughter and tears,
              3A sweet that was born of the bitter,
              4    A joke that was torn from the years

              5Of their travail and torture, Christ's fools,
              6    Atoning my sins with their blood,
              7Who grinned in their agony sharing
              8    The glorious madness of God.

              9Their name! Let me hear it --  the symbol
            10    Of unpaid -- unpayable debt,
            11For the men to whom I owed God's Peace,
            12    I put off with a cigarette.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: G. A. Studdert Kennedy, Rhymes (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1929): 9. 1929 (7) 3853 Cambridge University Library
First publication date: 1929
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/8/10

Rhyme: abcb


Other poems by Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy