Day 27 – 30 Days, 30 Readings: Stevie Smith, “Our Bog is Dood”

Stevie Smith

Stevie Smith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our Blog is… Dude… 

Here we are, Day 27! Every day of this month I have recorded, edited and uploaded a poetry video as part of my project and personal challenge of 30 Days, 30 Readings for National Poetry Month. Each poem has been by a different poet, often one whom I have not read before.

With the exception of some occasional pre-midnight work, none of these were done ahead of time, and little of this was prepared or mapped out before hand. The final four days, however, I have decided upon and sketched out in order to end with a decisive climax.

It was hard deciding on the final four poets. Obviously, I cannot read all of my favorites in 30 days, and of course, I am not saying that these 30 are the uncontested best. Day 28’s poet I have wanted to do all along and the final two are two of my greatest influences and inspirations. Today’s however, I just thought of this morning in the shower. She’s powerful and unique, and not read widely enough in my opinion. I’m not sure if you need your seat belt for these last few laps around the National Poetry Month track, but it couldn’t hurt.

Stevie Smith was ahead of her time. There was nobody writing like her among her peers, but many have emulated her since, and her style is illustrative of the turning of these modern times. If you have not read her before, you simply must. No, I’m not kidding; you must. It’s required of you. There will be a quiz on this later. Today’s poem I found in that giant tome on my shelf called the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2. So you know she’s legit (wink).

I have read two of her poems before, “Pretty” and “Not Waving, But Drowning” (during this latter video I am afraid I provided way too much commentary, so it’s um, gone). I will not explicate this surreal fairy tale, or is it a discussion with children in a nursery? Possibly no, and maybe yes. I leave this up to you to interpret. The most important thing, as always, is that you have fun and enjoy the experience.

Our Bog is Dood
by Stevie Smith

Our Bog is dood, our Bog is dood,
They lisped in accents mild,
But when I asked them to explain
They grew a little wild.
How do you know your Bog is dood
My darling little child?

We know because we wish it so
That is enough, they cried,
And straight within each infant eye
Stood up the flame of pride,
And if you do not think it so
You shall be crucified.

Then tell me, darling little ones,
What’s dood, suppose Bog is?
Just what we think, the answer came,
Just what we think it is.
They bowed their heads. Our Bog is ours
And we are wholly his.

But when they raised them up again
They had forgotten me
Each one upon each other glared
In pride and misery
For what was dood, and what their Bog
They never could agree.

Oh sweet it was to leave them then,
And sweeter not to see,
And sweetest of all to walk alone
Beside the encroaching sea,
The sea that soon should drown them all,
That never yet drowned me.

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14 thoughts on “Day 27 – 30 Days, 30 Readings: Stevie Smith, “Our Bog is Dood”

  1. Wow, have I completely been missing out on Poetry Month. These are great. Can’t wait until the baby is up tomorrow and I can afford to listen to them with the volume up. Thanks a billion for making and sharing these!

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  2. This Pome is Groot, just what I think it is. I will have to check her out at the library. There is always more to find . . . .

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  3. That was really pretty!!!!! I think Stevie in Bog is Dood was perhaps saying God is dead and because of that she had chosen to walk alone through life. Some of her other poems like ‘Never again’, conceal a plan to return to God like the prodigal son at some stage of the journey….. Interpretation A la moi!!!!

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    • “Bog or God” is also used throughout one of my favorite novels, Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, to describe God (and according to a critical essay by Roger Craik, bog is British slang for lavatory). As for dood, it sounds like dead, but I think it’s supposed to stand in for whatever you believe Bog or God to be (since none of Bog’s followers in the poem can agree). Dead is certainly an option, but so is love, or fear, or nature.

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    • That’s the amazing thing about poems like this one. We can muse for hours about it’s meaning. I am in the UK bog is a slang term for lavatory and it is also a marshy area of peat. !!!! Thankyou for your insight.

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    • I love people talking about poems like this! Yay! 😀 Yes, I think she’s smart to not say exactly what she means, as that makes for multiple possibilities. It seems to me like they “little dears” are saying something along the lines that their god is good, but the poet uses dood, which makes one think more of dead. I love the nonsense-sense of it. This is the kind of ambiguity that I find interesting, not the crap where poets just try to be difficult so you’ll think they are smart.

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  4. Pingback: Stevie Smith’s Birthday Bog | The Dad Poet

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