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Poetry Interlude: Abdul Abulbul Amir, by Percy French

22 Aug

The sons of the Prophet are brave men and bold
And quite unaccustomed to fear,
But the bravest by far in the ranks of the Shah,
Was Abdul Abulbul Amir.

If you wanted a man to encourage the van,
Or harass the foe from the rear,
Storm fort or redoubt, you had only to shout
For Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Now the heroes were plenty and well known to fame
In the troops that were led by the Czar,
And the bravest of these was a man by the name
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

One day this bold Russian, he shouldered his gun
And donned his most truculent sneer,
Downtown he did go where he trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Young man, quoth Abdul, has life grown so dull
That you wish to end your career?
Vile infidel, know, you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

So take your last look at the sunshine and brook
And send your regrets to the Czar
For by this I imply, you are going to die,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

Then this bold Mameluke drew his trusty skibouk,
Singing, “Allah! Il Allah! Al-lah!”
And with murderous intent he ferociously went
For Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

They parried and thrust, they side-stepped and cussed,
Of blood they spilled a great part;
The philologist blokes, who seldom crack jokes,
Say that hash was first made on the spot.

They fought all that night neath the pale yellow moon;
The din, it was heard from afar,
And huge multitudes came, so great was the fame,
Of Abdul and Ivan Skavar.

As Abdul’s long knife was extracting the life,
In fact he was shouting, “Huzzah!”
He felt himself struck by that wily Calmuck,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

The Sultan drove by in his red-breasted fly,
Expecting the victor to cheer,
But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh,
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

There’s a tomb rises up where the Blue Danube rolls,
And graved there in characters clear,
Is, “Stranger, when passing, oh pray for the soul
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.”

A splash in the Black Sea one dark moonless night
Caused ripples to spread wide and far,
It was made by a sack fitting close to the back,
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps,
‘Neath the light of the cold northern star,
And the name that she murmurs in vain as she weeps,
Is Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

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9 Comments

Posted by on August 22, 2015 in poetry, Religion of Peace

 

9 responses to “Poetry Interlude: Abdul Abulbul Amir, by Percy French

  1. ray

    August 22, 2015 at 5:32 am

    Picked this up in the middle of the night from an old B.S.A. songbook that I . . . found.

    It’s Dad calling! Cheers.

     
  2. Will S.

    August 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    🙂

    Back in my Scouting years, one of my Scoutmasters used to sing it.

     
  3. ray

    August 22, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    For vacation each year we camped in the Sierras, in deep forest near my grandpa’s childhood home. My mom really liked that! :O)

    The car ride up always included this song, which we’d make my dad repeat, basso. From his own scout boyhood I expect.

    Some of these verses I remember, the names of course unforgettable. Ivan Skavinski and Abdul Abulbul. Some things never change. Then suddenly, they do.

    Cheers.

     
  4. Will S.

    August 22, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    🙂

     
  5. Mark Citadel

    August 23, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    It’s a pleasant little piece. I must venerate the souls of my departed kin on the battlefields of Orthodoxy, but must also give regards to the fearsome fighters that an obscure ‘prophet’ brought up from the sand to do battle.

    How such great conflicts make the sorry excuse for ‘war’ which the West conducts today pale in comparison.

     
  6. ray

    August 23, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    “I must venerate the souls of my departed kin on the battlefields of Orthodoxy, but must also give regards to the fearsome fighters that an obscure ‘prophet’ brought up from the sand to do battle.”

    Yeah prophet in quotes. Gabriel told Mohammed all that stuff? Come on it’s about as credible as mormonism or voudoun.

    These are duped sons of Ishmael; the song wisely advises prayer for their zoomed souls. Some of them certainly were and are bold, but their bravery is misplaced and mis-used. When the Sultan floats by in his chariot, ready to gloat, Abdul’s mouth already is full of sand. Whoops. And neither know why. Shoulda been Scouts!

    The Muscovite Maiden pines, the song circles the campfire. A reduced flame not extinguished. There are some real Scouts about now and they are not defenseless boys.

    Cheers.

     
  7. Will S.

    August 23, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    @ Mark: Indeed, they were worthy opponents, more honourable IMO than their latter-day terrorist counterparts.

     

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