Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Favourite Poem

This is one of my Dad's favourite poems, and also one of mine. I have known the first two verses by heart for many years now, and have made a resolution to learn the rest, two-by-two (because it's much friendlier with two...)

I have learned R. Kipling's 'IF' by heart and recite it to myself now and again - to keep in practice, and to remind myself of that which I most wish to achieve in life.

There is a lesson in this poem too, which is called "The Old Sailor" and is one of Alan Alexander Milne's:

The Old Sailor
by A.A. Milne

There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn't because of the state he was in.

He was shipwrecked, and lived on a island for weeks,
And he wanted a hat, and he wanted some breeks;
And he wanted some nets, or a line and some hooks
For the turtles and things which you read of in books.

And, thinking of this, he remembered a thing
Which he wanted (for water) and that was a spring;
And he thought that to talk to he'd look for, and keep
(If he found it) a goat, or some chickens and sheep.

Then, because of the weather, he wanted a hut
With a door (to come in by) which opened and shut
(With a jerk, which was useful if snakes were about),
And a very strong lock to keep savages out.

He began on the fish-hooks, and when he'd begun
He decided he couldn't because of the sun.
So he knew what he ought to begin with, and that
Was to find, or to make, a large sun-stopping hat.

He was making the hat with some leaves from a tree,
When he thought, "I'm as hot as a body can be,
And I've nothing to take for my terrible thirst;
So I'll look for a spring, and I'll look for it first."

Then he thought as he started, "Oh, dear and oh, dear!
I'll be lonely tomorrow with nobody here!"
So he made in his note-book a couple of notes:
"I must first find some chickens" and "No, I mean goats."

He had just seen a goat (which he knew by the shape)
When he thought, "But I must have boat for escape.
But a boat means a sail, which means needles and thread;
So I'd better sit down and make needles instead."

He began on a needle, but thought as he worked,
That, if this was an island where savages lurked,
Sitting safe in his hut he'd have nothing to fear,
Whereas now they might suddenly breathe in his ear!

So he thought of his hut ... and he thought of his boat,
And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,
And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst) ...
But he never could think which he ought to do first.

And so in the end he did nothing at all,
But basked on the shingle wrapped up in a shawl.
And I think it was dreadful the way he behaved -
He did nothing but bask until he was saved!


lorenzothellama said...

I had a little beetle so that Beetle was his name
And I called him Alexander and he aswered just the same.
I put him in a match box and kept him all the day,
But Nanny let my beetle out, yes Nanny let my beetle out, Nanny let my beetle out, and beetle ran away.

She said that she didn't mean it and I never said she did,
She said she wanted matches and she just took off the lid,
She said that she was sorry and it's difficult to catch,
An excited Alexander you've mistaken for a match.

She said that she was sorry and I really mustn't mind,
As there's lots and lots of beetles which she's certain we could find,
If we looked about the garden for the holes where beetles hid,
And we'd get another match box and write BEETLE on the lid.

We went to all the places which a beetle might be near,
And we made the sort of noises which a beetle likes to hear,
And I saw a kind of something, and I gave a sort of shout,
A beetle house and Alexander Beetle coming out.

(finish this later. my supper is ready).

lorenzothellama said...

Well supper is well and truly digested and breakfast has joined it:

It was Alexander Beetle I'm as certain as can be,
And he had a sort of look as if he thought it must be Me,
And he had a sort of look as if he thought he ought to say
I'm very very sorry that I tried to run away.

And Nanny's very sorry too for you know what she did,
And she's writing ALEXANDER very blackly on the lid.
So Nan and Me are friends because it's difficult to catch,
An excited Alexander you've mistaken for a match.

I love this poem by Mr Mills too. I used to recite it to the children when they were little as our surname is Alexander and they thought the beetle had been called after them!


Martin Stickland said...

I like that!

I once knew a poem about 'seamen' but I do not think I could grace your delightful family blog with such a rowdy yarn.

Have a good weekend my little fluffy mongoose.


Martin Stickland said...

I had an old ugly Auntie,
she used to polish the brass,
Have you seen the size of the moon?
Well that was the size of her ar..

That was another nice Mr Mills poem too or was it me who wrote that rather rude ditty?

Ju's little sister said...

hard to tell...

ohhhhhhhhh v.word deybie!

Maalie said...

What a gorgeous post! I tried to learn the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, but never succeeded!

simon said...

I am in complete agreement with Maalie!
Great poem!

AS is yours too Lorenzo! I had a beetle called Alexander when I was a kid and yes I named it after the poem! :o)

Crikey! brings backa lot of memories.

thanks Ju's!! a bit of culture

Now for the poem I have learned from memory.

"Fleas" by Edward Lear.

Adam had'em

Martin Stickland said...

Booo to U2 U cheeky monkey

kiwi mother said...

Martin I heard a joke once about seamen but it is a bit risque - wanna hear it?

.... why are camels called ships of the desert?

Because they are full of Arab se..n

Dear, oh dear.

Maali - you obviously didn't see JLS's eels - the little icon she has now is FAR better than those ugly creatures. JLS deserves much better than those nasty nippy things. :-)

Martin Stickland said...

Kiwi Mother! You make me blush you naughty young lady!

kiwi mother said...

I wish I was a naughty young lady. I was once .....

Anonymous said...

The poem is great, I have heard it from 'ju's little sisters - father and mother' and I could take myself back to those good times!

The poem is very apt as I never seem to get a job finished at the moment - so need a blitz before Christmas!