Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Lore and Language of Children

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

Iona and Peter Opie were like the Brothers’ Grimm of the 1950s. Their fabulous book was The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, an epic collection of children’s rhymes, riddles, superstitions, jeers, and customs, garnered from interviews with thousands of English children in the 1950s. Many of these rhymes and tricks persist in the playground today. Here are some gems from the Opie’s collection:

Pinch-me, Punch-me, and Steponmytoes,
Went down to the river to swim,
Two of the three were drowned,
Who do you think was saved?

Old Mr Kelly,
Had a pimple on his belly;
His wife cut it off,
It tasted like jelly.

When the war is over Hitler will be dead,
He hopes to go to heaven with a crown upon his head.
But the Lord said, No! You’ll have to go below,
There’s only room for Churchill, so cheery, cheery oh.

God made the bees
The bees make the honey;
We do the work,
The teacher gets the money.

Scab and matter custard,
Green snot pies,
Dead dog’s giblets
Dead cat’s eyes.
Hard boiled snails, Spread it thick
Wash it down with a cup of cold sick!



A Love Story – Pollination

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

It’s the most important relationship on Earth – everything in Nature depends on pollinators and flowers getting together.

Pollination is ‘a love story that feeds the Earth.’ – Louie Schwartzberg.

For a flower to make fruit and seeds, its pollen (male) must get to an egg (female), usually in another flower – and bees do 80% of the moving. The result is a cornucopia of foods from cherries to cashews, courgettes to coffee. Our relationship with the pollinators is equally vital so let’s provide bees with a variety of flowers, clean water and spray-free gardens.

Scenes from Louie Schwatzberg’s dazzling movie, Wings Of Life:

The Remarkable Gimmal

Monday, October 1st, 2012

I was introduced to the wonderful Gimmal by the poet, Zireaux. He invented this Thurberesque term to describe a rhyming pair, such as hero and zero. What makes the Gimmal so rare? There are no other English words to rhyme with the pair, and the words are related in meaning.

Like two siblings, or twins who’ve been separated at birth and who, reunited again, cast new light upon the other’s existence. – Zireaux

Here are a few more specimens that Zireaux has netted:

summit – plummet; tortured – orchard;

eager – meager; cupid – stupid

I met the Gimmal by chance, rhyming minister with sinister in a poem. It’s the meaning of Gimmals that’s so intriguing – one word is somehow the subversive opposite of the other. Where do these entwined twins come from? If you find a Gimmal, send it to Zireaux, who will give it a home in the collection (a zickering of Gimmals perhaps?).

But I’m convinced the greatest gimmal match is

the violence that one’s silence hatches.– Zireaux

Tortured Orchard (Pont Aven)

What rhymes with Gershwin?

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

George and Ira Gershwin’s songs

Are one of life’s great pleasures,

Catchy lines and offbeat rhymes

And many tuneful treasures.

It Ain’t Necessarily So

Has this Jonah rhyme in tow:

He made his home-in

That fishes’ ab-domen.

And it was Ira who wisely said it

in Nice Work If You Can Get It:

The man who only lives for making money

Lives a life that isn’t necessarily sunny

Brian Wilson has recently Beach-Boyed the Gershwins

But it’s mellow so I won’t be casting aspersions.

Poet Bees

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

This beautiful poem by Carol Ann Duffy (extract from The Bees) reminded me of a beautiful photo by Sarah Anderson:

Here are my bees,

brazen, blurs on paper,

besotted; buzzwords, dancing

their flawless, airy maps.

Bees flying