Limericks Are Poems Too

A tribute to poetry, such as I’m doing during National Poetry Month, must include these witty little verses. I was surprised yesterday to discover, as I looked through my new/used book, The Best Loved Poems of the American People, that a limerick well known to most of us was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

There was a little girl, she had a little curl
right in the middle of her forehead;
and when she was good, she was very, very good,
and when she was bad she was horrid.

Now I’ll try my hand at one. Grab the air freshener. 😉

A hermit who lives by the zoo
claims bathing is no good for you.
“And if y’re really healthy
yer neighbors should smell ye
before ye come into view.”

The Reading Mother

Strickland Gillilan, 1869-1954, was an American poet and humorist, and this is the verse he’s most famous for:

The Reading Mother

I had a Mother who read to me
sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
of ancient and gallant and golden days;
stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
which every boy has a eight to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
of Gêlert the hound of the hills of Wales,
true to his trust till his tragic death,
faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
that wholesome life to the boy heart brings —
stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.

My contribution today to National Poetry Month is taken from The Best Loved Poems of the American People. © 1936 by Doubleday & Company, New York.

I found this book at a second-hand book sale this afternoon. Almost 650 pages for $1 — quite a bargain!

Little Brown Birdies #2

As you may have guessed, I was going to post Edna Jacques’ poem about the birds that came to her yard in spring. I decided not to for fear of the Copyright Infringement Police, but I forgot to remove the title. My apologies for the confusion!

However, I’ll give you another poem about little birds. This one by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman is a bit more complex, but just as good, I think.

March

Over the dripping roofs and sunk snow-barrows,
The bells are ringing loud and strangely near,
The shout of children dins upon mine ear
Shrilly, and like a flight of silvery arrows
Showers the sweet gossip of the British sparrows,
Gathered in noisy knots of one or two,
To joke and chatter just as mortals do
Over the days long tale of joys and sorrows;

Talk before bed-time of bold deeds together,
Of thefts and fights, of hard-times and the weather,
Till sleep disarm them, to each little brain
Bringing tucked wings and many a blissful dream,
Visions of wind and sun, of field and stream,
And busy barn-yards with their scattered grain.

By Archibald Lampman

Little Brown Beggars

For my contribution to National Poetry Month today, I’m going to write about a famous western Canadian poetess, Edna Jacques. (Pronounced Jakes) She was our Edgar Guest, a poet who wrote about home, often her prairie home during the Depression years. Altogether she wrote some 3,000 poems and published about half a dozen books of her verses, most of them available, as used copies, on Amazon.

Edna Jacques was born in Collingwood, Ontario in 1891 and moved with her family to a homestead SE of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan when she was eleven. She married Ernest Jamieson at age 20 and they had one daughter. If I recall correctly, he later had mental health problems, so Edna did not have an easy life — still she wrote cheerful verses about nature, the seasons and domestic life in general. Altogether she wrote some 3,000 poems and published about half a dozen books of her verses.

You can find a few online and I’d like to post one of her verses here, but she only died in Sept 1978. Which means that technically they are still under copyright and I don’t want legal problems. 🙂