Friday, March 14, 2014

Very Naughty Letters

Vowels were something else. He didn't like them and they didn't like him. There were only five of them, but they seemed to be everywhere. Why, you could go through twenty words without bumping into some of the shyer consonants, but it seemed as if you couldn't tiptoe past a syllable without waking up a vowel.
~Jerry Spinelli

Mary Mapes Dodge, St. Nicholas Magazine XXXIV: Part 2: 666

The Letters at School
by Mary Mapes Dodge

One day the letters went to school,
  And tried to learn each other;
They got so mixed 't was really hard
  To pick out one from t' other.

A went in first, and Z went last;
  The rest all were between them,--
K,L and M, and N, O, P,--
  I wish you could have seen them!

B,C,D,E, and J, K, L,
  So jostled well their betters;
Q,R,S,T--I grieve to say--
  Were very naughty letters.

Of course, ere long, they came to words--
  What else could be expected?
Till E made D,J,C, and T
  Decidedly dejected.

Now, through it all the Consonants
  Were rudest and uncouthest,
While all the pretty Vowel girls
  Were certainly the smoothest.

And simple U kept far from Q,
  With face demure and moral,
"Because," she said, "we are, we two,
  So apt to start a quarrel!"

But spiteful P said, "Pooh for U!"
  (Which made her feel quite bitter),
And calling O,L,E to help,
  He really tried to hit her.

Cried A, "Now E and C, come here!
  If both will aid a minute,
Good P will join in making peace,
  Or else the mischief's in it."

And smiling E, the ready sprite,
  Said, "Yes, and count me double."
This done, sweet peace shone o'er the scene,
  And gone was all the trouble!

Meanwhile, when U and P made up,
  The Cons'nants look about them,
And kissed the Vowels, for you see,
  They couldn't do without them.

Mary Mapes Dodge, St. Nicholas Magazine XXXIV: Part 2: 667
A big thank you to the poets and poetry lovers who have sent me original poems about imaginary places and links to published imaginary place poems! If anyone else would like to participate, please send me your contributions by March 21st. My email is tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com and here's some info about the project.
Rogue Anthropologist is the Poetry Friday round-up host today.


Linda B said...

This is quite wonderful, Tabatha. I've never seen it, but it's also inspiring, to see what one might do with letters. I'm working on a poem for you!

jama said...

Why have I not seen this one before? Love it. Will have to pin this post to my Alphabetica Pinterest board. :)

Joy said...

Thank you, dear lady.

Diane Mayr said...

"Were rudest and uncouthest" This line is great!

I think I forgot to send you another imaginary place after the Peppermint Bay poem disaster. I'll see what this weekend brings!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...


Bridget Magee said...

Funny! I won't be able to look at the alphabet the same way again. = )