Tag Archives: poem

Since EVERYONE seems to either have a cold or be talking about having a cold…

The Land of Counterpane – Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Mother’s day / Mothers’ day – a couple o’ poems

Mother o’ Mine

Rudyard Kipling

If I were hanged on the highest hill,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine
I know whose love would follow me still,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine
I know whose tears would come down to me,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
Mother o’ mine, 0 mother o’ mine!

+

To My Mother

Robert Louis Stevenson

You too, my mother, read my rhymes
For love of unforgotten times,
And you may chance to hear once more
The little feet along the floor.

+

if there are any heavens my mother will

E. E. Cummings

if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)have
one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor
a fragile heaven of lilies-of-the-valley but
it will be a heaven of blackred roses

my father will be(deep like a rose
tall like a rose)

standing near my

(swaying over her
silent)
with eyes which are really petals and see

nothing with the face of a poet really which
is a flower and not a face with
hands
which whisper
This is my beloved my

(suddenly in sunlight

he will bow,

& the whole garden will bow)

+

Spring is like a perhaps hand

snowdrop1

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and from moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.
– e e cummings

The King’s Breakfast

The King’s Breakfast

The King asked
The Queen, and
The Queen asked
The Dairymaid:
“Could we have some butter for
The Royal slice of bread?”
The Queen asked the Dairymaid,
The Dairymaid
Said, “Certainly,
I’ll go and tell the cow
Now
Before she goes to bed.”

The Dairymaid
She curtsied,
And went and told the Alderney:
“Don’t forget the butter for
The Royal slice of bread.”

The Alderney said sleepily:
“You’d better tell
His Majesty
That many people nowadays
Like marmalade
Instead.”

The Dairymaid
Said “Fancy!”
And went to
Her Majesty.
She curtsied to the Queen, and
She turned a little red:
“Excuse me,
Your Majesty,
For taking of
The liberty,
But marmalade is tasty, if
It’s very
Thickly
Spread.”

The Queen said
“Oh!”
And went to his Majesty:
“Talking of the butter for
The royal slice of bread,
Many people
Think that
Marmalade
Is nicer.
Would you like to try a little
Marmalade
Instead?”

The King said,
“Bother!”
And then he said,
“Oh, deary me!”
The King sobbed, “Oh, deary me!”
And went back to bed.
“Nobody,”
He whimpered,
“Could call me
A fussy man;
I only want
A little bit
Of butter for
My bread!”

The Queen said,
“There, there!”
And went to
The Dairymaid.
The Dairymaid
Said, “There, there!”
And went to the shed.
The cow said,
“There, there!
I didn’t really
Mean it;
Here’s milk for his porringer
And butter for his bread.”

The queen took the butter
And brought it to
His Majesty.
The King said
“Butter, eh?”
And bounced out of bed.
“Nobody,” he said,
As he kissed her
Tenderly,
“Nobody,” he said,
As he slid down
The banisters,
“Nobody,
My darling,
Could call me
A fussy man -
BUT
I do like a little bit of butter to my bread!”

– A A Milne

Pass notes

It’s National Poetry Day, so I finished a draft of something I started a few months back.

 

Pass Notes

When I’m not in the room with you, you’re your old self.
Tall and indomitable.
Resolute of purpose.
A firm handshake, look ‘em dead in the eye.
In the car I listen to the radio, and think you’d like this show.

When the lady in the next room goes, the sadness,
like soot falling down a chimney,
billows out across the corridor and settles for a while,
Hanging in the air along with her daughters’ words:
“She’s gone.” It’s only a few days before it’s your turn and ours.

Since then,

Mum’s face as she gave me the watch you wore every day
Clutching it in her hand and mine,
“Be a dreamer of dreams,” she said.
“A man among men, and walk the path with curiosity and joy.”
There’s nothing more to say, it’s the most beautiful quest.

Along with the small change and the comb you always kept in the pocket of your trousers,
there’s an old tin with a handful of fuses,
radiator keys and old batteries in your drawer.
I find a big list of stories and ideas, the things that you liked.
I listen to your old country and western tapes in the car, wear your coat.

I’m not in the room with you, but echoes are everywhere.
I try to at least act like I know what I’m doing.
It’s all there in how we live our lives:
A firm handshake, look ‘em dead in the eye.
In the car I listen to the radio, and find more things you’d like.

 
© me, 2012

So this is where “movers and shakers” comes from…

Ode was written in 1874 by the English poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy. It is often referred to by its first line: “We are the music makers.”

The Ode is the first poem in O’Shaughnessy’s collection Music and Moonlight. It has nine stanzas, although it is commonly believed to be only three stanzas long. The opening stanza is:

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

In Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, after Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) states that “The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!”, Veruca Salt responds in an arrogant tone, “Snozzberries? Who ever heard of a snozzberry?”. Willy Wonka grabs her mouth and replies, “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” It’s fab.

Here’s the rest of it:

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample a kingdom down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself in our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

A breath of our inspiration
Is the life of each generation;
A wondrous thing of our dreaming
Unearthly, impossible seeming—
The soldier, the king, and the peasant
Are working together in one,
Till our dream shall become their present,
And their work in the world be done.

They had no vision amazing
Of the goodly house they are raising;
They had no divine foreshowing
Of the land to which they are going:
But on one man’s soul it hath broken,
A light that doth not depart;
And his look, or a word he hath spoken,
Wrought flame in another man’s heart.

And therefore to-day is thrilling
With a past day’s late fulfilling;
And the multitudes are enlisted
In the faith that their fathers resisted,
And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,
Are bringing to pass, as they may,
In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,
The dream that was scorned yesterday.

But we, with our dreaming and singing,
Ceaseless and sorrowless we!
The glory about us clinging
Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing:
O men! it must ever be
That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,
A little apart from ye.

For we are afar with the dawning
And the suns that are not yet high,
And out of the infinite morning
Intrepid you hear us cry—
How, spite of your human scorning,
Once more God’s future draws nigh,
And already goes forth the warning
That ye of the past must die.

Great hail! we cry to the comers
From the dazzling unknown shore;
Bring us hither your sun and your summers;
And renew our world as of yore;
You shall teach us your song’s new numbers,
And things that we dreamed not before:
Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,
And a singer who sings no more.

Ode on Melancholy

No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf’s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss’d
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow’s mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil’d Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine;
His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

- By John Keats

Saucy!

And the Ship Sails On, by Joel Brouwer

He faced the sink, one foot up
on the edge of the tub. She stood
behind him, reaching around.
In the mirror, her face rose
over his shoulder like the moon,
and like the moon she regarded him
beautifully but without feeling,
and he looked at her as he would
at the moon: How beautiful!
How distant! No smiling, no weeping,
no talking. A man and a woman
transacting their magnificent business
with the usual equanimity. The man
as a passenger walking the ship’s deck
at evening and the woman as the moon
over his shoulder oiling the ocean
with light. Deep in the ship’s belly
pistons churned and sailors fed
the boilers' roar with coal. On deck
just the engine’s dull thrum and
a faint click as the woman sets her ring
on the cool white lip of the sink.

A couple of poems…


 
“Hope” is the thing with feathers

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops – at all -

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Emily Dickinson

==

Making a Fist

We forget that we are all dead men conversing wtih dead men.
—Jorge Luis Borges

For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

“How do you know if you are going to die?”
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
“When you can no longer make a fist.”

Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand.

– Naomi Shihab Nye

==

“Although the wind …”

Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

Izumi Shikibu

==

The Pig

In England once there lived a big
And wonderfully clever pig.
To everybody it was plain
That Piggy had a massive brain.
He worked out sums inside his head,
There was no book he hadn’t read.
He knew what made an airplane fly,
He knew how engines worked and why.
He knew all this, but in the end
One question drove him round the bend:
He simply couldn’t puzzle out
What LIFE was really all about.
What was the reason for his birth?
Why was he placed upon this earth?
His giant brain went round and round.
Alas, no answer could be found.
Till suddenly one wondrous night.
All in a flash he saw the light.
He jumped up like a ballet dancer
And yelled, “By gum, I’ve got the answer!”
“They want my bacon slice by slice
“To sell at a tremendous price!
“They want my tender juicy chops
“To put in all the butcher’s shops!
“They want my pork to make a roast
“And that’s the part’ll cost the most!
“They want my sausages in strings!
“They even want my chitterlings!
“The butcher’s shop! The carving knife!
“That is the reason for my life!”
Such thoughts as these are not designed
To give a pig great piece of mind.
Next morning, in comes Farmer Bland,
A pail of pigswill in his hand,
And piggy with a mighty roar,
Bashes the farmer to the floor…
Now comes the rather grizzly bit
So let’s not make too much of it,
Except that you must understand
That Piggy did eat Farmer Bland,
He ate him up from head to toe,
Chewing the pieces nice and slow.
It took an hour to reach the feet,
Because there was so much to eat,
And when he finished, Pig, of course,
Felt absolutely no remorse.
Slowly he scratched his brainy head
And with a little smile he said,
“I had a fairly powerful hunch
“That he might have me for his lunch.
“And so, because I feared the worst,
“I thought I’d better eat him first.”

Roald Dahl

I worry more…

A father’s no shield for his child

Seamus Heaney

 I worry more now that my son is out
On his own, earning a handsome salary
Back east.  How big the country is, and how
Many ways to navigate it.  He’s free
To cross his streets without a father’s help —
A father’s caution, practice reading the signs.
And though I must admit he’s doing well,
Anything could happen, and he’s still mine
To fret over.  Finally I understand
My own father’s silence.  Not uncaring,
As I once thought, it’s the brave wordlessness
Of love and wonder, and no little fear:
Two fathers, now watching from their distance,
Two sons who risk the futures they will miss.

A dream within a dream


 
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

- Edgar Allan Poe

Nice bit of Ogden. True.

Poetry. Say it slow.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves

“I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter.

“We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.

“For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves.”

James Kavanaugh on his first book of poems There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves. An ex-priest, he wrote it in the early Seventies when he was living in a tiny flat in New York, surviving off peanut butter and processed cheese. He died in 2009 at the ripe age of 81.

++

Here are three from it:

Where are you hiding my love?
Each day without you will never come again.
Even today you missed a sunset on the ocean,
A silver shadow on yellow rocks I saved for you,
A squirrel that ran across the road,
A duck diving for dinner.
My God! There may be nothing left to show you
Save wounds and weariness
And hopes grown dead,
And wilted flowers I picked for you a lifetime ago,
Or feeble steps that cannot run to hold you,
Arms too tired to offer you to a roaring wind,
A face too wrinkled to feel the ocean’s spray.

and

I saw my face today
And it looked older,
Without the warmth of wisdom
Or the softness
Born of pain and waiting.
The dreams were gone from my eyes,
Hope lost in hollowness
On my cheeks,
A finger of death
Pulling at my jaws.

So I did my push-ups
And wondered if I’d ever find you,
To see my face
With friendlier eyes than mine.

plus of course

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men too gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder them for a merchant’s profit and gain.
There are men too gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who devour them with appetite and search
For other men to prey upon and suck their childhood dry.
There are men too gentle for an accountant’s world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky.
There are men too gentle to live among wolves

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who toss them like a lost and wounded dove
Such gentle men are lonely in a merchant’s world
Unless they have a gentle one to love.

Song at Sunset

Song at Sunset, by Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Splendor of ended day floating and filling me,
Hour prophetic, hour resuming the past,
Inflating my throat, you divine average,
You earth and life till the last ray gleams I sing.

Open mouth of my soul uttering gladness,
Eyes of my soul seeing perfection,
Natural life of me faithfully praising things,
Corroborating forever the triumph of things.

Illustrious every one!
Illustrious what we name space, sphere of unnumber’d spirits,
Illustrious the mystery of motion in all beings, even the tiniest insect,
Illustrious the attribute of speech, the senses, the body,
Illustrious the passing light–illustrious the pale reflection on
the new moon in the western sky,
Illustrious whatever I see or hear or touch, to the last.

Good in all,
In the satisfaction and aplomb of animals,
In the annual return of the seasons,
In the hilarity of youth,
In the strength and flush of manhood,
In the grandeur and exquisiteness of old age,
In the superb vistas of death.

Wonderful to depart!
Wonderful to be here!
The heart, to jet the all-alike and innocent blood!
To breathe the air, how delicious!
To speak–to walk–to seize something by the hand!
To prepare for sleep, for bed, to look on my rose-color’d flesh!
To be conscious of my body, so satisfied, so large!
To be this incredible God I am!
To have gone forth among other Gods, these men and women I love.

Wonderful how I celebrate you and myself
How my thoughts play subtly at the spectacles around!
How the clouds pass silently overhead!
How the earth darts on and on! and how the sun, moon, stars, dart on and on!
How the water sports and sings! (surely it is alive!)
How the trees rise and stand up, with strong trunks, with branches
and leaves!
(Surely there is something more in each of the trees, some living soul.)

O amazement of things–even the least particle!
O spirituality of things!
O strain musical flowing through ages and continents, now reaching
me and America!
I take your strong chords, intersperse them, and cheerfully pass
them forward.

I too carol the sun, usher’d or at noon, or as now, setting,
I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth and of all the
growths of the earth,
I too have felt the resistless call of myself.

As I steam’d down the Mississippi,
As I wander’d over the prairies,
As I have lived, as I have look’d through my windows my eyes,
As I went forth in the morning, as I beheld the light breaking in the east,
As I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach
of the Western Sea,
As I roam’d the streets of inland Chicago, whatever streets I have roam’d,
Or cities or silent woods, or even amid the sights of war,
Wherever I have been I have charged myself with contentment and triumph.

I sing to the last the equalities modern or old,
I sing the endless finales of things,
I say Nature continues, glory continues,
I praise with electric voice,
For I do not see one imperfection in the universe,
And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at last in the universe.

O setting sun! though the time has come,
I still warble under you, if none else does, unmitigated adoration.

He wishes for the cloths of heaven

Nice bit of Yeats for a Friday:

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats

Things

Things

There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
There are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected; there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m. All the worse things come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking worse and worse and worse.

This is by Fleur Adcock. She wrote it in December 1973 – right in the middle of the Winter of Discontent. As she says in “Poem for the Day 2” (where I spotted it): “There were power cuts, a rail strike, shortages of every kind (a note in my diary on the 15th says that I managed to buy the last oil lamo in East Finchley). I had a cold, an elderly friend had just died, and all was bleak. The occasion for the poem was probably some minor cause for embarrassment that was keeping me awake, bet then all the more serious matters came crowding in. I thought other people would recognise the sentiments.”

But then, you read something like this and look out of the window on a nice sunny day, and think about the walk you’re going to have by the river or the lovely family you’re about to see, and it seems a little silly to let those things come stalking in. I love this poem. You can read it in a funny way too. It makes me feel better.

Compare and contrast

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/compare_and_contrast.png

(via)

A line-storm song, by Robert Frost

The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift,  
  The road is forlorn all day,  
Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift,  
  And the hoof-prints vanish away.  
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
  Expend their bloom in vain.  
Come over the hills and far with me,  
  And be my love in the rain.  

The birds have less to say for themselves  
  In the wood-world’s torn despair
Than now these numberless years the elves,  
  Although they are no less there:  
All song of the woods is crushed like some  
  Wild, easily shattered rose.  
Come, be my love in the wet woods; come,
  Where the boughs rain when it blows.  

There is the gale to urge behind  
  And bruit our singing down,  
And the shallow waters aflutter with wind  
  From which to gather your gown.     
What matter if we go clear to the west,  
  And come not through dry-shod?  
For wilding brooch shall wet your breast  
  The rain-fresh goldenrod.  

Oh, never this whelming east wind swells    
  But it seems like the sea’s return  
To the ancient lands where it left the shells  
  Before the age of the fern;  
And it seems like the time when after doubt  
  Our love came back amain.       
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout  
  And be my love in the rain.

Attention please! ATTENTION PLEASE!

‘Attention please! Attention please!
Don’t dare to talk! Don’t dare to sneeze!
Don’t doze or daydream! Stay awake!
Your health, your very life’s at stake!
Ho-ho, you say, they can’t mean me.
Ha-ha, we answer, wait and see.

Did any of you ever meet
A child called Goldie Pinklesweet?
Who on her seventh birthday went
To stay with Granny down in Kent.
At lunchtime on the second day
Of dearest little Goldie’s stay,
Granny announced, ‘I’m going down
To do some shopping in the town.’
(D’you know why Granny didn’t tell
The child to come along as well?
She’s going to the nearest inn
To buy herself a double gin.)

So out she creeps. She shuts the door.
And Goldie, after making sure
That she is really by herself,
Goes quickly to the medicine shelf,
And there, her little greedy eyes
See pills of every shape and size,
Such fascinating colours too –
Some green, some pink, some brown, some blue.
‘All right,’ she says, ‘let’s try the brown,’
She takes one pill and gulps it down.
‘Yum-yum!’ she cries. ‘Hooray! What fun!
They’re chocolate-coated, every one!’
She gobbles five, she gobbles ten,
She stops her gobbling only when
The last pill’s gone. There are no more.
Slowly she rises from the floor.
She stops. She hiccups. Dear, oh dear,
She starts to feel a trifle queer.

You see, how could young Goldie know,
For nobody had told her so,
That Grandmama, her old relation
Suffered from frightful constipation.
This meant that every night she’d give
Herself a powerful laxative,
And all the medicines that she’d bought
Were naturally of this sort.
The pink and red and blue and green
Were all extremely strong and mean.
But far more fierce and meaner still,
Was Granny’s little chocolate pill.
Its blast effect was quite uncanny.
It used to shake up even Granny.
In point of fact she did not dare
To use them more than twice a year.
So can you wonder little Goldie
Began to feel a wee bit moldy?

Inside her tummy, something stirred.
A funny gurgling sound was heard,
And then, oh dear, from deep within,
The ghastly rumbling sounds begin!
They rumbilate and roar and boom!
They bounce and echo round the room!
The floorboards shake and from the wall
Some bits of paint and plaster fall.
Explosions, whistles, awful bangs
Were followed by the loudest clangs.
(A man next door was heard to say,
‘A thunderstorm is on the way.’)
But on and on the rumbling goes.
A window cracks, a lamp-bulb blows.
Young Goldie clutched herself and cried,
‘There’s something wrong with my inside!’
This was, we very greatly fear,
The understatement of the year.
For wouldn’t any child feel crummy,
With loud explosions in her tummy?

Granny, at half past two, came in,
Weaving a little from the gin,
But even so she quickly saw
The empty bottle on the floor.
‘My precious laxatives!’ she cried.
‘I don’t feel well,’ the girl replied.
Angrily Grandma shook her head.
‘I’m really not surprised,’ she said.
‘Why can’t you leave my pills alone?’
With that, she grabbed the telephone
And shouted, ‘Listen, send us quick
An ambulance! A child is sick!
It’s number fifty, Fontwell Road!
Come fast! I think she might explode!’

We’re sure you do not wish to hear
About the hospital and where
They did a lot of horrid things
With stomach-pumps and rubber rings.
Let’s answer what you want to know;
Did Goldie live or did she go?
The doctors gathered round her bed,
‘There’s really not much hope,’ they said.
‘She’s going, going, gone!’ they cried.
‘She’s had her chips! She’s dead! She’s died!’
‘I’m not so sure,’ the child replied.
And all at once she opened wide
Her great big bluish eyes and sighed,
And gave the anxious docs a wink,
And said, ‘I’ll be okay, I think.’

So Goldie lived and back she went
At first to Granny’s place in Kent.
Her father came the second day
And fetched her in a Chevrolet,
And drove her to their home in Dover.
But Goldie’s troubles were not over.
You see, if someone takes enough
Of any highly dangerous stuff,
One will invariably find
Some traces of it left behind.
It pains us greatly to relate
That Goldie suffered from this fate.
She’d taken such a massive fill
Of this unpleasant kind of pill,
It got into her blood and bones,
It messed up all her chromosomes,
It made her constantly upset,
And she could never really get
The beastly stuff to go away.
And so the girl was forced to stay
For seven hours every day
Within the everlasting gloom
Of what we call The Ladies Room.
And after all, the W.C.
Is not the gayest place to be.
So now, before it is too late.
Take heed of Goldie’s dreadful fate.
And seriously, all jokes apart,
Do promise us across your heart
That you will never help yourself
To medicine from the medicine shelf.’

Roald Dahl