Good Gnus—PG Wodehouse Hunting Poem

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A northern Michigan summer! Time to venture forth out onto the waters and kill something to eat. I’m thinking pike. Wodehouse had gnus in mind.

When cares attack and life seems black,
How sweet it is to pot a yak,
Or puncture hares and grizzly bears,
And others I could mention;
But in my Animals “Who’s Who”
No name stands higher than the Gnu;
And each new gnu that comes in view
Receives my prompt attention.

When Afric’s sun is sinking low,
And shadows wander to and fro,
And everywhere there’s in the air
A hush that’s deep and solemn;
Then is the time good men and true
With View Halloo pursue the gnu;
(The safest spot to put your shot
is through the spinal column).

To take the creature by surprise
We must adopt some rude disguise,
Although deceit is never sweet,
And falsehoods don’t attract us;
So, as with gun in hand you wait,
Remember to impersonate
A tuft of grass, a mountain-pass,
A kopje or a cactus.

A brief suspense, and then at last
The waiting’s o’er, the vigil past;
A careful aim. A spurt of flame.
It’s done. You’ve pulled the trigger,
And one more gnu, so fair and frail,
Has handed in its dinner-pail;
(The females all are rather small,
The males are somewhat bigger).


  1. John Van Horn

    I’m with you on the pike. I also enjoy northern Michigan, but Northwest Canada for a week is coming up in August, and that’s spectacular!

  2. Here’s a link I click on daily for a random quotation:

    Today’s quote:

    I like a man to be a clean, strong, upstanding Englishman who can look his gnu in the face and put an ounce of lead in it.

    Mr Mulliner Speaking (1929)

    How coincidental is that?

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