I read this poem last week at care home for people suffering with dementia and we had a wonderful discussion from it. One lady picked up on the idea of greed immediately and even related it to her own feelings of desire for things that dont belong to her, as well as the feeling of owning something precious.
It is a comfort in a way. You can look at it and say, Its mine. Its mine. There is comfort in that.
Another lady went on to relate it to the big things she has wanted in her life:
A partner a really good looking fellow. And a nice place to come back to at the end of the day, to call home.
I was quite shocked to get all of that from a poem about a fight between a nymph and a goblin!
Overheard on a Saltmarsh
Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?
Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?
Give them me.
Give them me. Give them me.
Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
Lie in the mud and howl for them.
Goblin, why do you love them so?
They are better than stars or water,
Better than voices of winds that sing,
Better than any man’s fair daughter,
Your green glass beads on a silver ring.
Hush, I stole them out of the moon.
Give me your beads, I want them.
I will howl in the deep lagoon
For your green glass beads, I love them so.
Give them me. Give them.
– Harold Monro (1879 – 1932)