The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)
The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! What shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw-
And, oh! How the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate-
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)
Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: They ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)
THE FLY-AWAY HORSE
Oh, a wonderful horse is the Fly-Away Horse-
Perhaps you have seen him before;
Perhaps, while you slept, his shadow has swept
Through the moonlight that floats on the floor.
For it's only at night, when the stars twinkle
That the Fly-Away Horse, with a neigh
And a pull at his rein and a toss of his mane,
Is up on his heels and away!
The moon in the sky,
As he gallopeth by,
Cries: "Oh! What a marvelous sight!"
And the Stars in dismay
Hide their faces away
In the lap of old Grandmother Night.
It is yonder, out yonder, the Fly-Away Horse
Speedeth ever and ever away-
Over meadows and lane, over mountains and plains,
Over streamlets that sing at their play;
And over the sea like a ghost sweepeth he,
While the ships they go sailing below,
And he speedeth so fast that the men on the
Adjudge him some portent of woe.
"What ho, there!" they cry,
As he flourishes by
With a whisk of his beautiful tail;
And the fish in the sea
Are as scared as can be,
From the nautilus up to the whale!
And the Fly-Away Horse seeks those far-away
You little folk dream of at night-
Where candy-trees grow, and honey-brooks flow,
And corn-fields with popcorn are white;
And the beasts in the wood are ever so good
To children who visit them there-
What glory astride of a lion to ride,
Or to wrestle around with a bear!
The monkeys, they say:
"Come on, let us play,"
And they frisk in the coconut-trees:
While the parrots, that cling
To the peanut-vines sing
Or converse with comparative ease!
Off! scamper to bed- you shall ride him to-night!
For, as soon as you've fallen asleep,
With a jubilant neigh he shall bear you away
Over forest and hillside and deep!
But tell us, my dear, all you see and you hear
In those beautiful lands over there,
Where the Fly-Away Horse wings his far-away
With the wee one consigned to his care.
Then grandma will cry
In amazement: "Oh, my!"
And she'll think it could never be so.
And only we two
Shall know it is true-
You and I, little precious! shall know!
Many thanks to Hilary Byers for sending me this
Eugene Field poem.
JEST 'FORE CHRISTMAS
Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie, but the fellers call
Mighty glad I ain't a girl---ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes, curls, an' things that's
worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin'
in the lake---
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for bellyache!
'Most all the time, the whole year round, there
ain't no flies on me,
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin
Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the
First thing she knows she doesn't know where
she is at!
Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out
'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook
But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited
He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups
up his hoss,
An' then I laff an' holler, "Oh, ye never teched
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin
Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother,
As was et up by the cannibuls that lives in
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is
But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild
Nor read the Life of Daniel Boone, or else I
guess she'd know
That Buff'lo Bill an' cowboys is good enough
Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm good as
I kin be!
And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemnlike
His eyes they seem a-sayin': "What's the matter,
The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders
Of them two enemies of hern that used to make
But I am so perlite an' tend so earnestly to
That mother says to father: "How improved our
But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions
When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I
For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies,
cakes, an' toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not
for naughty boys;
So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind
yer p's and q's,
An' don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't
wear out yer shoes;
Say "Yessum" to the ladies, and "Yessur" to
An' when they's company, don't pass yer plate
for pie again;
But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see
upon that tree,
Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!
Many thanks to Margie Wolfe for bringing this poem
to my attention.
LITTLE BOY BLUE
The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and staunch he stands;
The little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.
"Now don't you go till I come," he said,
"And don't you make any noise!"
So, toddling off to his trundle bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue-
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!
Aye, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place,
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.
Mike Costigan had this comment about "Little Boy
"First of all let me thank you for posting some
of Eugene Field's work. In the "about" segment,
I was curious why you didn't mention that "Little
Boy Blue" was written about his son's death.
This is by no means a critique just an aside
that might be mentioned because it is the most
heartwrenching poem I've ever read about the
death of a child. If the reader doesn't know
what he wrote here about the "angel's song"
they won't really get what he was saying. The
only other poem that I've ever read that captures
the loss of a loved one is W.H. Auden's "Funeral
Blues". Although these two poems certainly
do treat the topic much differently. Anyway
just a note from a poetry lover and again Thanks...M"
PITTYPAT AND TIPPYTOE
All day long they come and go--
Pittypat and Tippytoe;
Footprints up and down the hall,
Playthings scattered on the floor,
Finger-marks along the wall,
Tell-tale smudges on the door--
By these presents you shall know
Pittypat and Tippytoe
How they riot at their play!
And a dozen times a day
In they troop, demanding bread--
Only buttered bread will do,
And the butter must be spread
Inches thick with sugar too!
And I never can say, "No,
Pittypat and Tippytoe!"
Sometimes there are griefs to
Sometimes ruffled brows to smooth;
For (I much regret to say)
Tippytoe and Pittypat
Sometimes interrupt their play
With an internecine spat;
Fie, for shame! to quarrel so--
Pittypat and Tippytoe!
Oh the thousand worrying things
Every day recurrent brings!
Hands to scrub and hair to brush,
Search for playthings gone amiss,
Many a wee complaint to hush,
Many a little bump to kiss;
Life seems one vain, fleeting show
To Pittypat and Tippytoe!
And when day is at an end,
There are little duds to mend;
Little frocks are strangely torn,
Little shoes great holes reveal,
Little hose, but one day worn,
Rudely yawn at toe and heel!
Who but you could work such woe,
Pittypat and Tippytoe!
But when comes this thought
"Some there are that childless be,"
Stealing to their little beds,
With a love I cannot speak,
Tenderly I stroke their heads---
Fondly kiss each velvet cheek.
God help those who do not know
A Pittypat or Tippytoe!
On the floor and down the hall,
Rudely smutched upon the wall,
There are proofs in every kind
Of the havoc they have wrought,
And upon my heart you'd find
Just such trade-marks, if you sought; Oh, how
glad I am 'tis so, Pittypat and Tippytoe!
Many thanks to Marilee Schroeder for sending me
this Eugene Field poem.
THE SUGAR-PLUM TREE
Have you ever heard of the Sugar-Plum Tree?
'T is a marvel of great renown!
It blooms on the shore of the Lollipop sea
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town;
The fruit that it bears is so wondrously sweet
(As those who have tasted it say)
That good little children have only to eat
Of that fruit to be happy next day.
When you 've got to the tree, you would have
a hard time
To capture the fruit which I sing;
The tree is so tall that no person could climb
To the boughs where the sugar-plums swing!
But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,
And a gingerbread dog prowls below---
And this is the way you contrive to get at
Those sugar-plums tempting you so:
You say but the word to that gingerbread dog
And he barks with such terrible zest
That the chocolate cat is at once all agog,
As her swelling proportions attest.
And the chocolate cat goes cavorting around
From this leafy limb unto that,
And the sugar-plums tumble, of course, to the
Hurrah for that chocolate cat!
There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint
With stripings of scarlet or gold,
And you carry away of the treasure that rains
As much as your apron can hold!
So come, little child, cuddle closer to me
In your dainty white nightcap and gown,
And I 'll rock you away to that Sugar-Plum Tree
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town.
WYNKEN, BLYNKEN, AND NOD
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe-
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we?"
The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea-
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish-
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam-
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 'twas a dream they'd
Of sailing that beautiful sea-
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is the wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three: