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.

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Dr Elsa H. Walters

Found in the papers of L.R. Reeve (see A.J. Balfour for background on him) this piece about the West Indian writer, educational psychologist and teacher Dr Elsa H.(Hopkins) Waters. There is little online about her and Reeve's piece will add substantially to knowledge of her life. Her first book Ability and Knowledge. The Standpoint of the London School (Macmillan, London) came out in 1935 she wrote about five more (several published by the National Froebel Foundation)  and her last book Principles of education: with special reference to teaching in the Caribbean was published by the O.U.P. in 1967. She was probably born about 1900 and was still alive when Reeve wrote this piece about 1970.


There came into our compartment at Newton Abbot station a well-dressed West Indian girl. She asked timidly if the train went to Paignton. Answered in the affirmative she lifted her suitcase on to the rack and responded readily to our inquisitive questions, then joined quietly in the general conversation. She informed us that she was a student at the Institute of Education, London.
  After Torquay, the young student and I were the only passengers in the compartment and she continued the story of her early life in the West Indies. Could she, I asked, tell me anything about Dr Walters, a university lecturer who had gone to her country. "Do you mean Miss Elsa Walters?" At my affirmative nod she informed me that she had heard of the lady but had never seen her. Strange, I thought, that a young West Indian scholar could give me the elusive, forgotten Christian name of an acquaintance.
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