Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

19 June 2007

Poetry Corner

This weekend someone randomly mentioned the following line from Lewis Carroll:

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail

We wracked our brains trying to remember the rest of it and eventually came up with the following:

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!

I mentioned the poem to my father today and he immediately remembered the last three lines, but couldn't think of anything else.
This got us to talking about other (nonsensical) poetry. Dad offered:

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

Clever, no? The discussion of limericks quickly devolved, however, and my father reminded me of a poem (I'm not sure it is a true limerick) he thinks my uncle Fried invented after a less than adequate fishing expedition:

I went to the sea with my line and my rod
I had great dreams of tuna and cod
The waves were rough; the sea was mean
In went my line, out came a sardine
Into the trash with my line and my rod

My grandmother Janie also had a poem she frequently repeated. This one is, I think an old traditional:

I wish I was a little rock
A-sittin’ on a hill.
Doin’ nothin’ all the day
Just a-sittin’ still.
I wouldn’t eat
I wouldn’t sleep
I wouldn’t even wash.
I’d just sit still
A thousand years
And rest myself, b’gosh.

"I wish I WERE," I corrected my father. But my mother corrected me. They've started to allow "was" in that sense now, she told me. Damned Modern Language Association. I know I sound conservative but "I wish I WAS"? It just doesn't sound right.