Jul 2, 2012

The Old Dutch Clock, It Told Me So

Share a poem that I wrote or just like

Preparing for this post was a jaunt back in time. I have not studied poetry much since high school, 40 or so years ago. So I looked on the internet for something to jog my memory, and I became aware that poetry was still being written despite the fact that I gave up reading it so many years ago. My muses were Wordsworth, Frost, and Longfellow, to name a few. Today, the younger readers look to Angelou, Garcia Marquez, Heaney, and maybe Plath and Ginsberg.

As a matter of fact, I still have a poetry compilation entitled, One Hundred and One Famous Poems, copyright 1958. I had some favorites then, like The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, Home by Edgar A. Guest, Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt, and If by Rudyard Kipling. One that I read just tonight was The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling. It was wonderful. But I have experienced life enough that now I can appreciate the poem, whereas 40 years ago I didn't even know about copy writers.

A poet known for his children's poems, Eugene Field was one of my favorites for his use of rhyming the end of one line with the next---couplets I think they are called. One that I had to memorize for a project was The Duel.

THE gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
       (I wasn't there; I simply state
       What was told to me by the Chinese plate!) 
Original Illustrations by Mary Ellsworth
©1941 by
The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
       (Never mind: I'm only telling you
       What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw-
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
       (Don't fancy I exaggerate-
       I got my news from the Chinese plate!) 
Original Illustrations by Mary Ellsworth
©1941 by
Next morning where the two had sat
They found no trace of the dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
       (The old Dutch clock it told me so,
       And that is how I came to know.)
Eugene Field
Next time, a post to parents on picking out books for your children.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the first poems I memorized as well :) Stopping by from the Summer Blog Challenge.


I would love to hear from you!