Poetry Friday--The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo

I am cheating here a bit today, by not actually sharing a poem, but rather what the author (Rudyard Kipling) calls a "sing-song." It's been going through my head for days, so here are bits from the Just So Story of Old Man Kangaroo and Yellow Dog Dingo.

Kangaroo wants to be "popular and very truly run after," so at the bidding of the Big God Nqong,

"Off ran Dingo-
Yellow-Dog Dingo-
always hungry, grinning like a coal-scuttle,
ran after Kangaroo."

And Kangaroo runs.

"Still ran Dingo-
Yellow-Dog Dingo-
always hungry, grinning like a rat-trap,
never getting nearer, never getting farther,
ran after Kangaroo.

He had too!

Still ran Kangaroo, Old Man Kangaroo.
He ran through the ti-trees; he ran through the mulga;
he ran through the long grass, he ran through the short grass;
he ran through the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer;
he ran till his hind legs ached.

He had too!"

Kipling put many "real" poems into the Just So Stories (1902), but they are nowhere near as good as the poetry that the words of this story make. If you've never read it, do, but not to yourself--read it out loud to someone, or get a copy on tape and listen...My boys (7 and 4) loved these stories, and the words are rather more fun for the grown ups than (to quickly set up a straw man) the Magic Tree House Books as read by their author (said Annie. said Jack. said Annie).

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Literary Safari today, so head on over for more Fun with Words!


  1. Charlotte, I like the idea of listening to these on tape! Thanks for the tip.

  2. Thanks for the sing-song and for the reminder! I've been meaning for weeks to write a post about Just So Stories, which my 7-year-old has been loving.

    Er. Along with all the other posts I've been meaning to write for weeks.

  3. Funny that you and The Old Coot both posted Kipling today!

  4. This sing song was so much fun to read. Will have to pick up Kipling again!

  5. I love Rudyard Kipling, in spite of learning of his cultural snobbery when I was older, and his sometimes racist writing. Much of what he writes is a really good doorway into classical literature for a younger reader.

  6. Still, to have this going through your head for days? Egads :)


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