S: Grandma Parish's Book of Poetry
FC: Grandma Parish's Book of | Poetry
1: Grandma Parish had a catalog of poems stored away in her brain. It's hard to fathom the number of hours she must have spent reciting poetry to us, her grandkids. I'm putting together this book so that they aren't completely forgotten. None of us, your grandma or mom or dad or aunts or uncle, can recite all of these from memory. There are, of course, some things a book like this can't capture, like Grandma stopping mid-sentence because she couldn't remember the rest of the line, or going back and repeating part of the poem because she had said it out of order. And even if you read these, you can't feel how much it tickled when she would run her fingers over your eyes, trying to get you to close them, tricking you into falling asleep, or know how comfortable it felt to have won the middle spot in the bed, sandwiched between Grandma and your sister. But hopefully, even though you never knew her, this book will be a little piece of her that you can get to know. I hope you love these as much as we did! Christmas 2009
2: There was a little girl Who had a little curl Right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good, She was very, very good. But when she was bad...
3: She was horrid!
4: I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head; And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed. The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow-- Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow; For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball, And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all. | My Shadow
5: He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play, And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way. He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see; I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me! One morning, very early, before the sun was up, I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup; But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head, Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
6: Foolish Questions Now you've all heard foolish questions, and no doubt you've wondered why Some person will ask a foolish question and expect a sensible reply Like when you take your girl some candy, say maybe just after tea You notice how she'll grab it and she'll say, "Is this for me?" Foolish Questions! You can answer when you can "No I bought this candy for your Ma or Pa, or for John the hired hand I just thought you'd like to see it. Now I'm going to take it away" Now wasn't that a foolish question? You'll hear them every day
7: And then most every morning, there is someone `round the place Who sees you take the shaving brush and lather up your face And as you give the razor a preliminary wave This fool will walk up and ask you, "Are you going to take a shave?" Foolish questions! Your answer is, I hope "No! I'm not prepared for shaving, I just like the taste of soap! I kind of like to take the shaving brush and paint myself this way" Now wasn't that a foolish question? You'll hear them every day!
8: Now then, there's this fellow who meets you on your way And asks you why your all dressed up and listens while you say That you just been returning from the funeral of poor old Uncle Ned As soon as you have told him, he will say, "Oh, Is Ned dead?" Foolish questions! You might as well reply "No, he thought he'd have the funeral now. Then later on he'd die You know Ned was always so original, he wanted it that way" Now wasn't that a Foolish Question? You'll hear `them every day!
9: Now suppose the elevator guy should forget to close the door And you should tumble down, oh say forty-seven floors And when you reach the bottom and you're lying there inert Some fool will stick his head down the shaft and holler, "Are you hurt?" Foolish Questions! Your dying words are "No! I was in an awful hurry and that elevator's just too slow Usually saves a lot of time, you know, coming down this way" Now wasn't that a Foolish Question? You'll hear them every day!
10: WheneverI walk to Suffern along the Erie track I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black. I suppose I've passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it. I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things; That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings. I know this house isn't haunted, and I wish it were, I do; For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two. | So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back, Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart, For I can't help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart. | The House with Nobody In It
11: The Swing How do you like to go up in a swing, Up in the air so blue? Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing Ever a child can do! Up in the air and over the wall, Till I can see so wide, River and trees and cattle and all Over the countryside-- Till I look down on the garden green, Down on the roof so brown-- Up in the air I go flying again, Up in the air and down!
12: Little Bird I saw a little birdie go hop, hop, hop I said to the bird, "won't you stop, stop, stop?" And was going to the window, to say how do you do, When he flipped his tail, and far away he flew. | The Land of Nod From breakfast on through all the day At home among my friends I stay, But every night I go abroad Afar into the land of Nod. All by myself I have to go, With none to tell me what to do-- All alone beside the streams And up the mountain-sides of dreams. The strangest things are these for me, Both things to eat and things to see, And many frightening sights abroad Till morning in the land of Nod. Try as I like to find the way, I never can get back by day, Nor can remember plain and clear The curious music that I hear.
13: We Threw 'Em Out the Window! | Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown, so we threw him out the window, the window, we threw him out the window. Jack fell down and broke his crown, so we threw him out the window. | Little Jack Horner sat in a corner eating his Christmas pie Stuck in his thumb, Pulled out a plum, So we threw him out the window, the window We threw him out the window. Stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum, So we threw him out the window. | Jack Sprat could eat no fat, His wife could eat no lean, So betwixt the two of them, We threw them out the window, the window, We threw them out the window. So betwixt the two of them, We threw them out the window. | Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men, They thew him out the window, the window. They threw him out the window. All the king's horses and all the king's men, They threw him out the window.
14: Paul Revere's Ride Listen my children and you shall hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year. He said to his friend, "If the British march By land or sea from the town to-night, Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch Of the North Church tower as a signal light,-- One if by land, and two if by sea; And I on the opposite shore will be, Ready to ride and spread the alarm Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country folk to be up and to arm." Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore, Just as the moon rose over the bay, Where swinging wide at her moorings lay The Somerset, British man-of-war; A phantom ship, with each mast and spar Across the moon like a prison bar, And a huge black hulk, that was magnified By its own reflection in the tide. Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street Wanders and watches, with eager ears, Till in the silence around him he hears The muster of men at the barrack door, The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet, And the measured tread of the grenadiers, Marching down to their boats on the shore. Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church, By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread, To the belfry chamber overhead, And startled the pigeons from their perch On the sombre rafters, that round him made Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
15: By the trembling ladder, steep and tall, To the highest window in the wall, Where he paused to listen and look down A moment on the roofs of the town And the moonlight flowing over all. Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead, In their night encampment on the hill, Wrapped in silence so deep and still That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread, The watchful night-wind, as it went Creeping along from tent to tent, And seeming to whisper, "All is well!" A moment only he feels the spell Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread Of the lonely belfry and the dead; For suddenly all his thoughts are bent On a shadowy something far away, Where the river widens to meet the bay,-- A line of black that bends and floats On the rising tide like a bridge of boats. Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride, Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere. Now he patted his horse's side, Now he gazed at the landscape far and near, Then, impetuous, stamped the earth, And turned and tightened his saddle girth; But mostly he watched with eager search The belfry tower of the Old North Church, As it rose above the graves on the hill, Lonely and spectral and sombre and still. And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height A glimmer, and then a gleam of light! He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns, But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight A second lamp in the belfry burns. A hurry of hoofs in a village street, A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark, And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
16: That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light, The fate of a nation was riding that night; And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight, Kindled the land into flame with its heat. He has left the village and mounted the steep, And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep, Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides; And under the alders that skirt its edge, Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge, Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides. It was twelve by the village clock When he crossed the bridge into Medford town. He heard the crowing of the cock, And the barking of the farmer's dog, And felt the damp of the river fog, That rises after the sun goes down. It was one by the village clock, When he galloped into Lexington. He saw the gilded weathercock Swim in the moonlight as he passed, And the meeting-house windows, black and bare, Gaze at him with a spectral glare, As if they already stood aghast At the bloody work they would look upon. It was two by the village clock, When he came to the bridge in Concord town. He heard the bleating of the flock, And the twitter of birds among the trees, And felt the breath of the morning breeze Blowing over the meadow brown. And one was safe and asleep in his bed Who at the bridge would be first to fall, Who that day would be lying dead, Pierced by a British musket ball. You know the rest. In the books you have read How the British Regulars fired and fled,--- How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
17: From behind each fence and farmyard wall, Chasing the redcoats down the lane, Then crossing the fields to emerge again Under the trees at the turn of the road, And only pausing to fire and load. So through the night rode Paul Revere; And so through the night went his cry of alarm To every Middlesex village and farm,--- A cry of defiance, and not of fear, A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, And a word that shall echo for evermore! For, borne on the night-wind of the Past, Through all our history, to the last, In the hour of darkness and peril and need, The people will waken and listen to hear The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, And the midnight message of Paul Revere.
18: The Village Blacksmith Under a spreading chestnut tree The village smithy stands; The smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands; And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands. His hair is crisp, and black, and long, His face is like the tan; His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns what'er he can, And looks the whole word in the face, For he owes not any man. Week in, week out, from morn till night, You can hear the bellows blow; You can hear him swing his might sledge, With measure beat and slow, Like a sexton ringing the village bell, When the evening sun is low. And children coming home from school Look in the open door; They love to see the flaming forge, And hear the bellows roar. And catch the flaming sparks that fly Like chaff from a threshing floor.
19: He goes on Sunday to the church, And sits among his boys; He hears the parson pray and preach, He hears his daughter's voice, Singing in the choir, And it makes his heart rejoice. It sounds to him like his mother's voice, Singing in Paradise! He needs must think of her once more, How in the grave she lies; And with his hard, rough hands he wipes A tear out of his eyes. Toiling, -- rejoicing, -- sorrowing, Onward in life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin, Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done, Has earned his night's repose. Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend, For the lesson thou has taught! Thus at the flaming forge of life Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each burning deed and thought.