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Paul Hansford


All Round My Hat


All round my hat I wear a lot of badges,
all round my hat, for many and many a day.

A disc of abalone shell from New Zealand;
a jester’s mask decorated with four glittering glass jewels (Venice,
though we weren’t there for the carnival) :
the Stars and Stripes, given to me in New York,
in the weeks after 9/11:
three lions, for England;
a bull, for Spain, even though I hate bull-fighting;
a liner (Alaska Cruise,2000) :
and a gold-coloured jet plane, for all the journeys I have made;
a small badge of a very large statue, Christ the Redeemer (Rio) :
the seashell of St James, with his special cross on it
(Santiago de Compostela, though we didn’t walk the Camino) :
a very tiny badge of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico;
and a shiny gold-coloured outline of a dove
(Carcassonne cathedral) representing the Holy Spirit;
King Kong, my biggest badge, appropriately:
a smaller-scale hero, Winnie-the-Pooh, a gift from my daughter:
a koala decorated in crushed opal (Australia) :
a stripy cat on a tartan ribbon (Edinburgh) :
a dolphin from the Azores, though we didn’t see any there,
(but we have seen dolphins, so it counts twice) :
a miniature cookie-cutter in the shape of a moose (Canadian rockies) ,
– but it would make impossibly small cookies;
a toucan (Costa Rica) and a puffin (Iceland)
admiring each other’s beaks;
heroes of the Revolution: Chairman Mao, bought in Beijing:
the Hồ Chí Minh League of Youth badge (Vietnam) :
the face of Che Guevara, looking handsome and intense (Cuba) :
and not forgetting the daddy of them all,
Lenin, on a red and flaming star;
the Hand of Fatima (Tunisia) for luck;
and the Eye of Horus (Egypt) ,
because you can’t have too much luck.

And if anybody asks me the reason why I wear them,
they remind me of places – and people – that are far, far away.

Submitted: Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Edited: Thursday, July 16, 2009

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  • Sid John Gardner. (7/17/2009 7:38:00 PM)

    I have 'T' shirts to remind me.
    1. The 2005 Sydney new year celebrations.
    2. The hot springs at Rotarua.
    3. The palms of Waikiki beach,
    4. The island of Alcatraz.
    5. The Venecian hotel gaming parlour Vegas,
    6. The Boston Red Sox celebration world series.
    7. The Ship hotel at Seahouses Northumberland.

    All significant places for different reasons.Pity I can not wear them all at once.
    Liked your writing in this one Paul.
    Sid. (Report) Reply

  • Karin Anderson (sorry can't vote or comment) . (7/15/2009 1:45:00 AM)

    A great way to cherish your well traveled memories and friends. If I owned the hat I would pull off the bull and cook some small cookies for Winnie-the-Pooh and the opal Koala. Seriously though Paul, it is a delightful poem. Karin Anderson (Report) Reply

  • Susan Jarvis (7/14/2009 12:46:00 PM)

    Steeleye Span, eat your hat! I love this! I can see King Kong, Winnie-the-Pooh, the dolphin, the toucan and puffin, beak to beak...'All Round My Hat' speaks volumes. It is representative of special places but, more significantly, special people - the closing lines touch the heart. I don't suppose there' any room for green willow? ! S ;) (Report) Reply

  • Catrina Heart (7/14/2009 12:15:00 PM)

    A collection of sweet memories
    Cherishing all the sentimentality it brings
    Great written opus my friend
    Thanks for sharing it with us! (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »

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