Campfire’s Burning

Mindlovemisery’s prompt yesterday was a strange one at this season – to write about our experience of summer camp.  Summer camp in the American sense is not a feature of British life.  There are Girl Guide camps, where we learned to make ”gadgets” – tripods to hang cooking pots over the fire, or frames to keep our kitbags off the damp ground; screens for the latrine trench etc, etc, etc.  but the most memorable part of GG camp was the singsongs round the fire at the end of each day.


Campfire’s Burning

A gaggle of girl guides
ging gang goolied
without a clue what it meant.
We came round the mountains
wearing pink pyjamas.
A big baboon by the light of the moon
combed his golden hair
while riding on a donkey.

We found a peanut, ate worms,
carried water in a holey bucket
to the quartermaster’s stores,
and sang of the explosion of Sambo
from too much fizzy pop.
We laughed with a Kookaburra up a gum tree
and finished the evening with Courtesy* –
our favourite campfire song.

We grew quietly sentimental
as the flames dwindled to a heap of ashes.
We sang Taps, hauled down the flag
and went to sleep on the hard ground.



* Of Courtesy, it is much less
Than Courage of Heart or Faithfulness,
Yet in my Walks it seems to me
That the Grace of God is in Courtesy.

On Monks I did at Storrington fall,
They took me straight into their Hall;
There were three pictures on the wall,
And Courtesy was in them all.

The first was of St. Gabriel;
On Wings a-flame from Heaven he fell;
And as he went upon one knee
He shone with Heavenly Courtesy.

Our Lady out of Nazareth rode –
It was Her month of heavy load;
Yet was her face both sweet and kind,
For Courtesy was in Her Mind.

The third it was our Little Lord,
Whom all the Kings in arms adored;
He was so small you could not see
His large intent of Courtesy.

Our Lord, that was Our Lady’s Son,
God bless you, People, one by one;
My Rhyme is written, my work is done.
(by Hilaire Belloc)



All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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7 Responses to Campfire’s Burning

  1. Adorable! I’m imagining what fun it must have been…. Aren’t those memories the greatest? I’m just concerned about the method you used to train your baboons how to comb their hair. Did they use your comb? Mom’s comb? Whose comb?


  2. This conjures up memories for me–the details you include make it so real. And the Belloc poem is stunning.


  3. opsimathpoet says:

    Oh VIv – what memories that evokes – it’s also a long way to tipperary which I can’t remember the travesty of! Happy New Year XX

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ron. says:

    Perfect choice of key-phrase triggers, V. Got my morning started right. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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