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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

When Daddy Fell Into The Pond

When Daddy Fell Into The Pond

Everyone grumbled. The sky was grey.
We had nothing to do and nothing to say.
We were nearing the end of a dismal day,
And then there seemed to be nothing beyond,
Daddy fell into the pond!

And everyone's face grew merry and bright,
And Timothy danced for sheer delight.
"Give me the camera, quick, oh quick!
He's crawling out of the duckweed!" Click!

Then the gardener suddenly slapped his knee,
And doubled up, shaking silently,
And the ducks all quacked as if they were daft,
And it sounded as if the old drake laughed.
Oh, there wasn't a thing that didn't respond
Daddy Fell into the pond!
                          -Alfred Noyes 1880 – 1958

This charming little poem, which always brings a smile to my face, was published in 1907 and it’s a wonderful way to introduce a child to poetry. Even a five-year-old can learn to recite it.

Noyes was a serious old-school poet and this is not at all typical of his output but it is probably his most-quoted work. Adults and children have laughed together when hearing it for more than a hundred years.

For me it paints a clear picture of middle-class life in early twentieth century England, (late Victorian in essence). I don’t think too many families would have owned a camera in 1907 and they also employed a gardener.

Not many words have been used, to be sure, but what a powerful image the poet conjures up!


klahanie said...

Greetings bazza,
Indeed, that is a most delightful poem. I must admit that I have never heard of 'Alfred Noyes', or this particular poem. Like you note, it most certainly conjures up a powerful image.
I would imagine that a camera was a most costly acquisition, back then.
Thanks for sharing this, bazza.
With respect, Gary.

bazza said...

Gary: I didn't know who it was by until I looked it up. I don't think his main work would be my kind of thing.
I just feel it's longevity and continuing ability to charm should be recognised. Job done!

joanne said...

how much fun to discover such a lighthearted poem that just can't help making you want to smile...

Bob said...

Children seem to remember incidents like that. I remember when my father trod on a nail....he was quite upset when I laughed.

bazza said...

Joanne: Sometimes I need something to make me feel good. This is far better than any drugs or alcohol (so I believe!)

Bob: Yes, I can quite believe that your father would be annoyed. But I bet you still smile when you look back to the incident!

Val said...

I like that you highlight poems, please follow my blog if you would, thanks Val

bazza said...

Hello Val: Thanks for visiting and for your kind comment.

ruthie said...

Dad, have you shown this to the boys? They would love it. I certainly do!

bazza said...

Ruthie: Hello my darling daughter. Why don't you get the twins to learn it!

ruthie said...

OK challenge accepted!

Seemu said...

O what a sweet poem :)

Its human instict to first laugh when someone has a funny fall, then only we realise that we should help them :)

Thank you for your visit to my blog.

bazza said...

Seemu: Yours is an interesting blog - you should post more often!
Thanks for stopping by.
I think psychologists have a lot to say about why we laugh we we see some fall over......