So there I was, peacefully reading my little one the poems of A.A. Milne, from When We Were Very Young and Now We are Six, and we were enjoying them very much. Of course I was only reading my favorites, such as "Once upon a time there were three little foxes, who didn't wear stockings and they didn't wear sockses..." (full poem here) and the incomparable "James James Morrison Morrison" (full poem here) and the soon to be seasonably appropriate King John's Christmas (full poem here) and we were having a happy time.
But all innocently happy times (in my family at any rate) end up tarred with the brush of cynical wit, and this was no exception. My husband pulled out his copy of The Best of Beachcomber, by J.B. Morton, and read us the following (found on page 57 of our 1963 copy):
Said to his nursy,
Nursy," he said, said he.
I'd much rather
He didn't write books about me."
"John Percy," said she,
"If dad stopped it,
If dad dropped it,
We shouldn't have honey for tea!"
And then the even more mood-destroying "Now We Are Sick" (page 60)
(which of course dear, dear Blogger won't let me format correctly. Grrr.)
These are poems from a volume J.B. Morton was working on, about which he says (on pages 51-52):
"There is a great vogue for what is called the Woogie-Poogie-Boo kind of children's book, and I am doing my best to get one ready. I don't know what it will be called, but I rather fancy Songs Through My Hat, or perhaps When We Were Very Silly. Here is a poem called "Theobald James".
I've got a silk-worm
A teeny-tiny silk-worm;
I call my silk-worm
But nursie says it's cruel
Nursie says it's wicked
To call a teeny-tiny little
I said to my silk-worm
"Oh, Mr Silk-worm,
I'd rather be a silk-worm
Than anything far!"
And nursie says he answered,
Nursie says he shouted,
"You wish you were a silk-worm?
(once again, no thanks to Blogger viz formatting.)
At any event, I shall continue to enjoy those poems of Milne which I already enjoy. And if you are looking for a book to give to someone who appreciates English humor, you could do worst than The Best of Beachcomber. J.B. Morton wrote a witty column every day for nearly forty years for the Daily Express, and this book is a compilation of the best of his work. Here is how Chapter 1 begins:
"Mr Justice Cocklecarrot began the hearing of a very curious case yesterday. A Mrs Tasker is accused of continually ringing the doorbell of a Mrs Renton, and then, when the door is opened, pushing a dozen red-bearded dwarfs into the hall and leaving them there."
And now I go to work, to rest from the weary toils and vexations of life at home. Have a lovely Friday!
(The Poetry Friday round-up is at my juicy little universe today!)