©winnie caw 2002 (follow the arrows below for more of winnie caw's whimsy, or click on a link)

A centipede was happy quite,
Until a frog in fun
Said, "Pray which leg comes after which?"
This raised her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in a ditch
Considering how to run.



I saw a jolly hunter
  With a jolly gun
Walking in the country
  In the jolly sun.

In the jolly meadow
  Sat a jolly hare.
Saw the jolly hunter.
  Took jolly care.

Hunter jolly eager -
  Sight of jolly prey.
Forgot gun pointing 
  Wrong jolly way.

Jolly hunter jolly head
  Over heels gone.
Jolly old safety-catch
  Not jolly on.

Bang went the jolly gun.
  Hunter jolly dead.
Jolly hare got clean away.
  Jolly good, I said.



The Jumblies

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did, 
In a Sieve they went to sea: 
In spite of all their friends could say, 
On a winter's morn, on a stormy day, 
In a Sieve they went to sea! 
And when the Sieve turned round and round, 
And every one cried, `You'll all be drowned!' 
They called aloud, `Our Sieve ain't big, 
But we don't care a button! we don't care a fig! 
In a Sieve we'll go to sea!' 
Far and few, far and few, 
Are the lands where the Jumblies live; 
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, 
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed away in a Sieve, they did, 
In a Sieve they sailed so fast, 
With only a beautiful pea-green veil 
Tied with a riband by way of a sail, 
To a small tobacco-pipe mast; 
And every one said, who saw them go, 
`O won't they be soon upset, you know! 
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long, 
And happen what may, it's extremely wrong 
In a Sieve to sail so fast!' 
Far and few, far and few, 
Are the lands where the Jumblies live; 
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, 
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

The water it soon came in, it did, 
The water it soon came in; 
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet 
In a pinky paper all folded neat, 
And they fastened it down with a pin. 
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar, 
And each of them said, `How wise we are! 
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long, 
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong, 
While round in our Sieve we spin!' 
Far and few, far and few, 
Are the lands where the Jumblies live; 
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, 
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

And all night long they sailed away; 
And when the sun went down, 
They whistled and warbled a moony song 
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong, 
In the shade of the mountains brown. 
`O Timballo! How happy we are, 
When we live in a Sieve and a crockery-jar, 
And all night long in the moonlight pale, 
We sail away with a pea-green sail, 
In the shade of the mountains brown!' 
Far and few, far and few, 
Are the lands where the Jumblies live; 
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, 
And they went to sea in a Sieve. 

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did, 
To a land all covered with trees, 
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart, 
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart, 
And a hive of silvery Bees. 
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws, 
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws, 
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree, 
And no end of Stilton Cheese. 
Far and few, far and few, 
Are the lands where the Jumblies live; 
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, 
And they went to sea in a Sieve. 

And in twenty years they all came back, 
In twenty years or more, 
And every one said, `How tall they've grown! 
For they've been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone, 
And the hills of the Chankly Bore!' 
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast 
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast; 
And every one said, `If we only live, 
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,--- 
To the hills of the Chankly Bore!' 
Far and few, far and few, 
Are the lands where the Jumblies live; 
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, 
And they went to sea in a Sieve. 

Edward Lear


Who Told Lies and was Burned to Death

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 through 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
Her Aunt was 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 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.

~ Hilaire Belloc



Atter her, atter her,
Sleeky flatterer,
Spitfire chatterer,
Scatter her, scatter her
Off her mat!
Treat her rough!
Git her, git her,
Whiskery spitter!
Catch her, catch her,
Green-eyed scratcher!
Don't miss her!
Run  till you're dithery,
Pfitts! Pfitts!
How she spits!
Spitch! Spatch!
Can't she scratch!
Scritching the bark
Of the sycamore-tree,
She's reached her ark
And she's hissing at me
Pfitts! Pfitts!
Wuff! Wuff!

~ Eleanor Farjeon


This is the key

This is the key of the Kingdom:
In that Kingdom there is a city.
In that city there is a town.
In that town there is a street.
In that street there is a lane.
In that lane there is a yard.
In that yard there is a house.
In that house there is a room.
In that room there is a bed.
On that bed there is a basket.
In that basket there are some flowers.
Flowers in a basket.
Basket on the bed.
Bed in the room.
Room in the house.
House in the yard.
Yard in the lane.
Lane in the street.
Street in the town.
Town in the city.
City in the Kingdom.
Of the Kingdom this is the key.

~ Anon



From Victoria I can go
To Pevensey Level and Piddinghoe,
Open Winkins and Didling Hill,
Three Cups Corner and Selsey Bill.
I'm the happiest one in all the nation
When my train runs out of Victoria Station.

But O the day when I come to town
From Ditchling Beacon and Duncton Down,
Bramber Castle and Wisborough Green,
Cisbury Ring and Ovingdean!
I'm the sorriest one in all the nation
When my train runs into Victoria Station.

~ Eleanor Farjeon


The Song of Wandering Aengus

I went to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream,
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name;
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

~ W B Yeats




Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant -
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone -
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I've got it right.)

Howe'er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee -
(I fear I'd better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)



When Letty had scarce passed her third glad year,
And her young artless words began to flow,
One day we gave the child a colour'd sphere
Of the wide earth, that she might mark and know,
By tint and outline, all its sea and land.
She patted all the world; old empires peep'd 
Between her baby fingers; her soft hand
Was welcome at all frontiers. How she leap'd 
And laugh'd and prattled in her world-wide bliss;
But when we turn'd her sweet unlearned eye
On our own isle, she raised a joyous cry -
"Oh! yes, I see it, Letty's home is there!"
And while she hid all England with a kiss,
Bright over Europe fell her golden hair.



Miss T

It's a very odd thing -
  As odd can be -
That whatever Miss T eats
  Turns into Miss T.;
Porridge and apples,
  Mince, muffins and mutton,
Jam, junket, jumbles -
  Not a rap, not a button
It matters; the moment
  They're out of her plate,
Though shared by Miss Butcher
  And sour Mr. Bate;
Tiny and cheerful,
  And neat as can be,
Whatever Miss T. eats
  Turns into Miss T.



What is Pink?

What is pink? A rose is pink
By the fountains brink.
What is red? A poppy's red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? The sky is blue
Where the clouds float through.
What is white? A swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow? Pears are yellow
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green? The grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet? Clouds are violet
In the summer twilight.
What is orange? Why, an orange,
Just an orange!



I asked the Little Boy Who Cannot See

I asked the little boy who cannot see,
"And what is colour like?"
"Why, green," said he,
"Is like the rustle when the wind blows through
The forest; running water, that is blue;
And red is like a trumpet sound; and pink
Is like the smell of roses; and I think
That purple must be like a thunderstorm;
And yellow is like something soft and warm;
And white is a pleasant stillness when you lie
And dream."



Puppy and I

I met a Man as I went walking:
We got talking,
Man and I.
"Where are you going to, Man?" I said
   (I said to the Man as he went by).
"Down to the village, to get some bread.
   Will you come with me?" "No, not I."

I met a horse as I went walking;
We got talking,
Horse and I.
"Where are you going to, Horse, today?"
   (I said to the Horse as he went by).
"Down to the village to get some hay.
   Will you come with me?" "No, not I."

I met a Woman as I went walking;
We got talking,
Woman and I.
"Where are you going to, Woman, so early?"
   (I said to the Woman as she went by).
"Down to the village to get some barley.
   Will you come with me?" "No, not I."

I met some Rabbits as I went walking;
We got talking,
Rabbits and I.
"Where are you going in your brown fur coats?"
   (I said to the Rabbits as they went by).
"Down to the village to get some oats.
   Will you come with us?" "No, not I."

I met a Puppy as I went walking;
We got talking,
Puppy and I.
"Where are you going this nice fine day?"
   (I said to the Puppy as he went by).
"Up to the hills to roll and play."
"I'll come with you, Puppy," said I.



Ladybird! Ladybird!

Ladybird! Ladybird! Fly away home,
Night is approaching, and sunset is come:
Felt, but unseen, the damp dewdrops fall.
This is the close of a still summer day;
Ladybird! Ladybird! haste! fly away!


[German version of the ladybird rhyme = Maikäfer, Flieg! Dein Vater ist im Krieg. Deine Mutter ist im Pomerland. Pomerland ist angebrannt. Maikäfer, Flieg! trans. Ladybird, flee! Your father's in the war. Your mother's in Pomerania. Pomerania is ablaze. Ladybird, flee!]


Teddy Bear

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at;
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack
The energy to clamber back.

Now tubbiness is just the thing
Which gets a fellow wondering;
And Teddy worried lots about
The fact that he was rather stout.
He thought: "If only I were thin!
But how does anyone begin?"
He thought: "It really isn't fair
To grudge me exercise and air."

For many weeks he pressed in vain
His nose against the window-pane,
And envied those who walked about
Reducing their unwanted stout.
None of the people he could see
"Is quite" (he said) "as fat as me!"
Then with a still more moving sigh,
"I mean" (he said) "as fat as I!"

Now Teddy, as was only right,
Slept in the ottoman at night,
And with him crowded in as well
More animals than I can tell;
Not only these, but books and things,
Such as a kind relation brings -
Old tales of "Once upon a time",
And history retold in rhyme.

One night it happened that he took 
A peep at an old picture-book,
Wherein he came across by chance
The picture of a King of France
(A stoutish man) and, down below,
These words: "King Louis So and So,
Nicknamed 'The Handsome!' " There he sat,
And (think of it) the man was fat!

Our bear rejoiced like anything
To read about this famous King,
Nicknamed the "Handsome." Not a doubt
The man was definitely stout.
Why then, a bear (for all his tub)
Might yet be named "The Handsome Cub!"

"Might yet be named." Or did he mean
That years ago he "might have been"?
For now he felt a slight misgiving:
"Is Louis So and So still living?
Fashions in beauty have a way
Of altering from day to day.
Is 'Handsome Louis' with us yet?
Unfortunately I forget."

Next morning (nose to window-pane)
The doubt occurred to him again.
One question hammered in his head:
"Is he alive or is he dead?"
Thus, nose to pane, he pondered; but
The lattice window, loosely shut,
Swung open. With one startled "Oh!"
Our Teddy disappeared below.

There happened to be passing by
A plump man with a twinkling eye,
Who, seeing Teddy in the street,
Raised him politely on his feet,
And murmured kindly in his ear
Soft words of comfort and of cheer:
"Well, well!" "Allow me!" "Not at all."
"Tut-tut!" A very nasty fall."

Our Teddy answered not a word;
It's doubtful if he even heard.
Our bear could only look and look:
The stout man in the picture-book!
That "handsome" King - could this be he,
This man of adiposity?
"Impossible," he thought. "But still,
No harm in asking. Yes, I will!"

"Are you," he said, "by any chance
His Majesty the King of France?"
The other answered, "I am that,"
Bowed stiffly, and removed his hat;
Then said, "Excuse me," with an air
"But is it Mr. Edward Bear?"
And Teddy, bending very low,
Replied politely, "Even so!"

They stood beneath the window there,
The King and Mr. Edward Bear,
And, handsome, if a trifle fat,
Talked carelessly of this and that ...
Then said His Majesty, "Well, well,
I must get on," and rang the bell.
"Your bear, I think," he smiled. "Good-day!"
And turned, and went upon his way.

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.
But do you think it worries him
To know that he is far from slim?
No, just the other way about -
He's proud of being short and stout.



Piping down the Valleys Wild

Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me:

"Pipe a song about a Lamb!"
So I piped with merry cheer.
"Piper, pipe that song again;"
So I piped: he wept to hear.

"Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer;"
So I sang the same again,
While he wept with joy to hear.

"Piper, sit thee down and write
In a book, that all may read."
So he vanished from my sight,
And I plucked a hollow reed,

And I made a rural pen,
And I stained the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.





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