Bermuda’s Coral Strand

Found- a handwritten poem. Not sure where it came from but it looks about 90+ years old. The anonymous author calls it ‘doggerel’ in his closing lines. William Plomer might have called it ‘Tough Verse.’ The style is of the stand-up ‘dramatic monologue’ as exemplified by Milton Hayes’s ‘There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Kathmandu…’ or possibly the Grenadier’s marching song (“Some talk of Alexander…’) The reference to fox-hunting in England may indicate the writer was a British expat.

"Bermuda's Coral Strand".


I've heard of men tell of Clusium
And of the Chinese war,
Of troubles in the East and West,
Of Delhi and Cawnpore,
Of brave Horatius Cocles
Who battled hand to hand,
But never yet in all my days
Have I heard a single word of praise
Of Bermuda's Coral Strand.


Now it does seem very strange to me
That such should be the case
For though there's not much of it
It's a very pretty place,
So, off my coat and up my sleeves
And with my pen in hand
I'll call the Muse to my aid and write
Doggerel verses with all my might
Of Bermuda's Coral Strand.


O look at the bright sea glist'ning
Its waters of lovely blue,
Look at the fishes leaping
Those fishes of varied hue,
See how the Easter lilies
Blooming throughout the land
Flourish and grow and give forth scent
Far sweeter than bull's-eye or peppermint
On Bermuda's Coral Strand.


List to the blue and the red birds
In the clust'ring juniper trees,
List to the cockroaches' merry hum
And that of the mason bees,
O list to the noise of the dredger
Ploughing up rocks and sand
Making the waters all round it white
Keeping the people awake at night
On Bermuda's Coral Strand.


Think of the joys unending
In a summer that lasts a year,
Think of the merry and jovial times
We have when the Fleet is here,
Think of the great rejoicing
'Mongst those upon the land
When the signal flags go up to say
"The mail is anchored in Grassy Bay"
"Off Bermuda's Coral Strand".


The soldier has time for fishing
In no uniform tightly girt,
Cricket and tennis the officer plays
In his two-and-sixpenny shirt,
Picture his quiet enjoyment
As he listens to the band
And talks to ladies under the trees
With coffee and ices on their knees
On Bermuda's Coral Strand.


Men say that they miss in Bermuda
The "Hark forrad" and "Tally-ho",
But how can a hunt for a fox compare
With that for a mos-qui-to,
O great is the exultation
When your strong right hand
You feel that no more you'll head him sing
No more will he use his little sting
On Bermuda's Coral Strand.


And of that "Vale of Happiness"
I'll not forget to sing
Where every Tuesday you will see
Poor dogs tied up with string,
And there in that spot of beauty
By cooling breezes fanned
You may sip your tea or enjoy a set
Hitting balls over or into the net
On Bermuda's Coral Strand.


O think of the life at Warwick
The camp upon the sea,
Where once a year all soldiers go
For annual musketry,
There you may shoot a snippet
Or dig from out the sand
Worms for bait and fish all day,
Catch a grunt or a large moray
Off Bermuda's Coral Strand.


O look at that lovely island,
'tis Agar's that I mean,
Where every week a subaltern
Protects the magazine,
He mounts the guard each morning
To let no stranger land,
He goes to his tent to change his clothes,
Jumps into his boat and off he goes
To Bermuda's Coral Strand.


O think of the noble battles
Of yachtsmen in the Sound,
Think of the cheers that rend the air
As the yachts the stake-boat round,
How sweet is the sound of those nautical terms
Which lubbers can't understand,
"Luff your spinnaker" "Ease your mast"
"Hard a'starboard" "We're hard and fast"
"On Bermuda's Coral Strand".


Think of the fair Americans
When the season's at its height,
With picnics sails, theatricals
And dances every night,
Then doth the youthful lover
Holding a tiny hand
List to the sound of the sad sea waves
Sitting in Joyce's or Walsingham caves
On Bermuda's Coral Strand.


These are but some of its pleasures,
Yet who could wish for more?
Isn't it odd that no word of praise
Has been heard of them long before?
But I hope now I've written these doggerel rhymes
That the day is near at hand,
When throughout the world all men shall know
That no doubt for enjoyment they ought to go
To Bermuda's Coral Strand.

2 thoughts on “Bermuda’s Coral Strand

  1. Trey

    Great doggerel! Everything about Bermuda is of interest. You you have a scan of the manuscript to put up? Trey

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