Friday, December 20, 2013

Hurrah for the Chocolate Cat!

by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

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 ground--
Hurrah for that chocolate cat!

There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint canes,
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.


The following images are from Lullaby land: Songs of childhood by Eugene Field. Selected by Kenneth Grahame and illustrated by Charles Robinson. from the Making of America Books collection at the University of Michigan:


Buffy is the Poetry Friday host today.


Buffy Silverman said...

Oh I love that chocolate cat and gingerbread dog (but probably should have eaten breakfast before reading this!) Thanks for sharing.

Linda B said...

I love Eugene Field. His someplace is here in Denver, but I've never found it open, although they continue to say it's here! My mother read his poems to me, & I to my daughter. Little Boy Blue is especially poignant I think, but this one you shared is so clever, sweet and his rhythm is soft. Thanks Tabatha, and for the beautiful illustrations too!

Linda B said...

So I looked again, & his home has been moved to a local park & turned into a park office. Guess I'll have to travel to St. Louis for more!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Tabatha. Folk musician Ted Jacobs has a wonderful recording of this poem. Hmmm. I think the chocolate cat may need a poem of her own, don't you? Happy holidays, friend!

GatheringBooks said...

Oh! Sugar-plum tree! I so love this poem. I love peppermint canes too - taste like christmas! :) The illustrations are beautiful too, Tabatha. :) Have a Merry Christmas, dear!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

That was just enchanting, Tabatha - so much magic in a child's view of Christmas. Happy holidays to you and yours!

Violet N. said...

What a lively, fun and delicious poem (I thought for a moment I was on Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup blog!). Enjoyed the old illustrations too. Your posts are always interesting and spicy.

BJ Lee said...

Oooh! This is delightful! thank you for introducing this poem to me. I adore it!

Diane Mayr said...

Hi Tabatha! First off, I want to thank you again for organizing the Winter Poem Swap! Brava, my friend.

Eugene Field is someone who I rediscover from to time. It's always a delight.

Mary Lee said...


Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

I wonder if Roald Dahl was familiar with this poem when he set out to write about his Chocolate Factory. Despite obvious differences, they still share a similar, anything is possible in a sugary world of imagination. Thanks for the poetic sugar high!

Keri said...

Delightful, as are you. Thanks for sharing this sweet treat!