I read the last story of the House at Pooh Corner (AA Milne) to my children a few weeks ago—the story that Milne wrote on purpose so as to put an end to it all. I distrusted this particular story as a child (it’s very different from all the others), and I don’t like reading it now because it is about Christopher Robin growing up and that sort of thing makes me sniff.
But anyway, there is a Poem in this chapter, one written by Eeyore. And my children though it was just the funniest poem they had ever heard in all their lives. I had to read it through 5 times in a row that day, and several times on the days that followed, and my seven year old memorized it for that week’s poem memorizing homework. So here it is, with a bit of Narrative Context:
"Don't Bustle me," said Eeyore, getting up slowly. "Don't now-then me." He took a piece of paper from behind his ear, and unfolded it. "Nobody knows anything about this," he went on. "This is a Surprise." He coughed in an important way, and began again: "What-nots and Etceteras, before I begin, or perhaps I should say, before I end, I have a piece of Poetry to read to you. Hitherto--hitherto--a long word meaning--well, you'll see what it means directly--hitherto, as I was saying, all the Poetry in the Forest has been written by Pooh, a Bear with a Pleasing Manner but a Positively Startling Lack of Brain. The Poem which I am now about to read to you was written by Eeyore, or Myself, in a Quiet Moment. If somebody will take Roo's bull's-eye away from him, and wake up Owl, we shall all be able to enjoy it. I call it--POEM." This was it:
Christopher Robin is going.
At least I think he is.
But he is going -
I mean he goes
(To rhyme with "knows")
Do we care?
(To rhyme with "where")
(I haven't got a rhyme for that "is" in the second line yet.
(Now I haven't got a rhyme for bother. Bother)
Those two bothers will have to rhyme with each other
The fact is this is more difficult
than I thought,
I ought -
(Very good indeed)
to begin again,
But it is easier
Christopher Robin, good-bye,
And all your friends
I mean all your friend
(Very awkward this, it keeps going wrong.)
Well, anyhow, we send
"If anybody wants to clap," said Eeyore when he had read this, "now is the time to do it."
They all clapped.
"Thank you," said Eeyore. "Unexpected and gratifying, if a little lacking in Smack."
"It's much better than mine," said Pooh admiringly, and he really thought it was.
"Well," explained Eeyore modestly, "it was meant to be."
The Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Miss Rumphius Effect today!