Sunday, 26 May 2013

Charles Causley: My Mother Saw A Dancing Bear

Charles Causley was a poet of international stature, born and bred in Cornwall where he lived most of his life. Today in Cornwall’s old capital Launceston, the Charles Causley Festival takes place annually; this year it’s over the weekend of 7th – 9th June. 

I’m not up on poetry, but I do like Charles. My favourite Causley poem is 'My Mother Saw A Dancing Bear'.

My mother saw a dancing bear
By the schoolyard, a day in June.
The keeper stood with chain and bar
And whistle-pipe, and played a tune.

And Bruin lifted up its head
And lifted up its dusty feet,
And all the children laughed to see
It caper in the summer heat.

They watched as for the Queen it died,
They watched it march, they watched it halt.
They heard the keeper as he cried,
"Now, Roly-Poly!" "Somersault!"

And then my mother said, there came
The keeper with a begging cup,
The bear with burning coat of fur
Shaming the laughter to a stop.

They paid a penny for the dance
But what they saw was not the show;
Only in Bruin's aching eyes
Far-distant forests, and the snow.

 For information on the Charles Causley Festival, visit

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