Estas pasadas Navidades 2017, buscando la versión del villancico medieval “Gaudete” que cantó en los años 70 el grupo folk Steelay Span, mi hermana me hizo saber que aquella cantante, Maddy Prior, había cantado un poema de Chesterton, contenido en La taberna errante. Ella ponía estas notas en el disco (Flesh And Blood, 1997)
“This is a piece of personal nostalgia. My father would read poetry to us as children, and this by G.K. Chesterton was always one of my favorites. Now it reminds me of the England that I first travelled when I toured the folk clubs, before the advent of the motorways. It wasn´t the French that straightened the roads in the end, but our modern urgency.
It may help to know that there was (is?) a massive cemetery at Kensal Green”.
Esta es la letra del poema
THE ENGLISH ROLLING ROAD
Before the Roman came to Rye or out of Severn strode
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.
I knew no harm of Bonaparte but plenty of the squire
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their bagonettes because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made
Where you and I went down the lane with ale mugs in our hands
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands
His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not what was which
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch
God pardon us, not harden us; we did not seen so clear
The night we went to Banochburn by way of Brighton Pier
My friends, we will not go again to ape an ancient rage
Or turn the folly of our youth to be the shame of age
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green