Saturday, 9 June 2007


At school, aged about ten, we had a poetry book with a peacok blue back, I can't remember what it was called, but I do know they were a set of old poetry books by the time we were using them. They were full of swashbuckling verses, whimsical verses and wonderful Edwardian and later nonsense poetry, some quite grizzley.
I loved Rebecca, as if I got very cross as a child I had a penchant for slamming doors myself, and it was a warning to me.


[Who Slammed Doors For Fun And Perished Miserably]


Hilaire Belloc

A Trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming Doors
A wealthy banker's little daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater,
[By name Rebecca Offendort],
Was given to the furious sport.

She would deliberately go
And slam the door like Billy-Ho!
To make her Uncle Jacob start.
[She was not really bad at heart.]

It happened that a marble bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door the little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam.
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that!

Her funeral sermon (which was long
And followed by a sacred song)
Mentioned her virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her vices too,
And showed the dreadful end of one
Who goes and slams the door for fun!


This is the Hilaire Belloc poem from that same poetry book that I recited at my class concert I loved this poem, and especially loved reciting with relish the line 'little liar'. The thought of adult's saying that in a sniffy way to child asking for help was delicious.


[Who told Lies, and was Burned to Death]


Hilaire Belloc

Matilda told such dreadful lies,
It made one gasp and stretch one's eyes;
Her aunt, who, from her earliest youth,
Had kept a strict regard for truth,

Attempted to believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not she
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the telephone.

And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London's noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs and Bow,
With courage high and hearts a-glow.

They galloped, roaring though the town,
'Matilda's house is burning down!'
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the ball-room Floor;
And took peculiar pains to souse
The pictures up and down the house,

Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away!

It happened that a few weeks later
Here Aunt went off to the Theatre
To see that interesting Play
'The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.'

She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That night a fire did break out-
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her scream and bawl,
And throw the window up and call

To People passing in the Street-
The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence-but it was all in vain!
For every time she shouted "Fire!"
They only answered "Little liar!"
And therefore when her Aunt returned,

Matilda, and the house, were burned.



My very favorite poem from childhood is one I still recite - my fairy-nieces acted it out one night on the large front 'porch' in Italy whilst I recited it dramatically from the doorway:



Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


Another one of my childhood favorites was The Pobble, I apparently really enjoyed nonsensical stories.

The Pobble Who Has No Toes


Edward Lear

The Pobble who has no toes

Had once as many as we;

When they said, 'Some day you may lose them all;'--

He replied, -- 'Fish fiddle de-dee!'

And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink,

Lavender water tinged with pink,

For she said, 'The World in general knows

There's nothing so good for a Pobble's toes!'

The Pobble who has no toes,

Swam across the Bristol Channel;

But before he set out he wrapped his nose,

In a piece of scarlet flannel.

For his Aunt Jobiska said, 'No harm'

Can come to his toes if his nose is warm;'

And it's perfectly known that a Pobble's toes

'Are safe, -- provided he minds his nose.'

The Pobble swam fast and well

And when boats or ships came near him

He tinkedly-binkledy-winkled a bell

So that all the world could hear him.

And all the Sailors and Admirals cried,

When they saw him nearing the further side,--

'He has gone to fish, for his Aunt Jobiska's

'Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!'

But before he touched the shore,

The shore of the Bristol Channel,

A sea-green Porpoise carried away

His wrapper of scarlet flannel.

And when he came to observe his feet

Formerly garnished with toes so neat

His face at once became forlorn

On perceiving that all his toes were gone!

And nobody ever knew

From that dark day to the present,

Whoso had taken the Pobble's toes,

In a manner so far from pleasant.

Whether the shrimps or crawfish gray,

Or crafty Mermaids stole them away--

Nobody knew; and nobody knows

How the Pobble was robbed of his twice five toes!

The Pobble who has no toes

Was placed in a friendly Bark,

And they rowed him back, and carried him up'

To his Aunt Jobiska's Park.

And she made him a feast at his earnest wish

Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish;--

And she said,-- 'It's a fact the whole world knows,

'That Pobbles are happier without their toes.'


Thursday, 7 June 2007


This poem is my contribution to the event "Poems we love as children."It's from one of my very favorite poets: ee cummins and I choose this poem because is about the magic of the sea. As a child, the ocean was the most fascinating thing in this world for me. Water is my element, I am a piscis. And I like to think sometimes that I am mermaid, a tall two legs mermaid, LOL.I am so lucky to say that I have lived almost all of my life very close to the beach so close that the waves can lullaby me and some nights, they kept me awake in my bedroom.

magie and milly and molly and may

ee cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea


Tuesday, 5 June 2007


Shel Silverstein was my favorite when I was young and he was also my own children’s favorite. His poetry would really make you think he really wrote it about you. I espiecally could relate to
Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout because as a child my room was always messy. And when my children were young I would read it to them when they wouldn’t clean up their rooms. Shel died in 1999 of a heart attack at the age of 66.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.


Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out!
She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans,
Candy the yams and spice the hams,
And though her daddy would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up to the ceilings:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown bananas, rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese.
It filled the can, it covered the floor,
It cracked the window and blocked the door
With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
Drippy ends of ice cream cones,
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel,
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,
Pizza crusts and withered greens,
Soggy beans and tangerines,
Crusts of black burned buttered toast,
Gristly bits of beefy roasts. . .
The garbage rolled on down the hall,
It raised the roof, it broke the wall. . .
Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,
Globs of gooey bubble gum,
Cellophane from green baloney,
Rubbery blubbery macaroni,
Peanut butter, caked and dry,
Curdled milk and crusts of pie,
Moldy melons, dried-up mustard,
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,
Cold french fried and rancid meat,
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.
At last the garbage reached so high
That it finally touched the sky.
And all the neighbors moved away,
And none of her friends would come to play.
And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said,
"OK, I'll take the garbage out!"
But then, of course, it was too late. . .
The garbage reached across the state,
From New York to the Golden Gate.
And there, in the garbage she did hate,
Poor Sarah met an awful fate,
That I cannot now relate
Because the hour is much too late.
But children, remember Sarah Stout
And always take the garbage out!


Monday, 4 June 2007


I must add another of my favorite childhood poems. Obviously, I was attracted to repetition and alliteration, and romantic death.

Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide,
I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


This is a poem that we learnt as children - it is an Australian poem. this is the poem in full - we learnt the verse in red - which is the verse that is so well known. (the first verse is apparently referring to England.

Dorothy Mackellar
The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Sunday, 3 June 2007


Mary Webb is a favourite 'country' poet. She was born and raised in the West Midlands, where I am originally from.

Mary Webb
The fairy people flouted me,
Mocked me, shouted me--
They chased me down the dreamy hill and beat me with a wand.
Within the wood they found me, put spells on me and bound me
And left me at the edge of day in John the miller's pond.Beneath the eerie starlight
Their hair shone curd-white;
Their bodies were all twisted like a lichened apple-tree;
Feather-light and swift they moved,
And never one the other loved,
For all were full of ancient dreams and dark designs on me.With noise of leafy singing
And white wands swinging,
They marched away amid the grass that swayed to let them through.
Between the yellow tansies
Their eyes, like purple pansies,
Peered back on me before they passed all trackless in the dew.

This is a late addition to Daisy Lupin's Poetry Fest...I loved this poem and everything else by Walter de la Mare. Some of his other poems have already been chosen by contributors to Daisy's Poetry Fest and I urge anyone not familiar with him to read them . It always stirred my imagination as a child and does to this day...

'The Listeners'
Walter de la Mare

Is there anybody there?' said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
'Is there anybody there?' he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head;
'Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,' he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.