Verses for Children  

A few of my poetical efforts in the vernacular. Anyone know a good illustrator?



The Humming Trees


The humming trees, the humming trees,

The place where buzzing bumble-bees

All dine together and take their ease;

Where blossoms bloom and hide the leaves

On which those busy little thieves

Now sit and snooze in flowering eaves;

While I beneath just start to sneeze

And wipe my nose, nor can I breathe

The scent of plants that do not please:

Still round my head those bumble-bees

Buzz drowsy through the humming trees.


Pirate Dogs  (A Shaggy Dog Story)


Pirate dogs like hunting rabbits

  O’er the wide and mighty sea.

Pirate dogs like hiding treasure:

  Bones and shoes and mouldy brie.

Pirate dogs like singing shanties:

  Fa tra la tra la tra lee.


Once there was a pirate captain,

  Greatest pirate of them all,

Black he was and stripy silver,

  Standing almost two feet tall;

Everywhere his name was dreaded,

  Pirate Captain Cat-a-Waul.


Fear and terror were his weapons,

  Teeth and claws and pistols too.

Jolly tars and desperadoes,

  Barking mad were all his crew,

Sailing far and wide the oceans

  On the good ship Kangaroo.


Captain Cat-a-Waul and pirates

  Sailing fast to Dogger Bank,

Caught some rabbits for their breakfast,

  Made some kittens walk the plank;

Howled with laughter, then fell silent:

  “Listen lads, now I’ll be frank,”


Quoth the Captain, “Hounds, look lively,

  Haul the rigging, swab the poop,

Hoist the anchor, splice the mainbrace,

  Noses out the chicken coop;

Heave, unfurl the Jolly Roger,

  Here’s a little doggy scoop:


“Captain Post the cruising mailman,

  Sails today from Barking town,

Carries letters, parcels, boxes,

  Paper white and cardboard brown,

Let us chase him, catch him, bite him,

  Send him o’er the side to drown.”


Quoth the cunning canine Captain,

  Howling wolves all cheered with glee:

Pirate dogs like chasing postmen

  O’er the wide and mighty sea.

Pirate dogs like dancing hornpipes:

  Diddle-di diddle-di dum di dee.


Poor old Captain Post the mailman,

  Hounded night and day by barks,

Sounds of warning, sounds of danger,

  Sounds of fear, to these he harks:

Barks now louder, barks now nearer,

  Soon he’ll be just food for sharks.


Cat-a-Waul sails closer, closer,

  Fires the guns with dreadful roar,

Pirates yelp and board the post-ship,

  Teeth and claws all sharp for war,

Grab the sacks and bags of letters,

  Sink their prize in sight of shore.


Poor old Captain Post now captured,

  Trembling, shaking, lacking hope;

“Walk the plank, ye scurvy mailman,”

  Cat-a-Waul is there to gloat,

Leaning on a soggy mailbag,

  Chewing on an envelope.


Something new and unexpected

  Caught the pirate’s blood-red eye,

Written on the chewed-up paper

  Words that made him give a cry:

“Dearest darling, love you always,

  From your sweetest cutie-pie.”


Long-lost letter from his lost love,

  Pampered poodle Clementine:

“Captain dearest, do you love me?

  Tell me true, will you be mine?”

Wrote the poodle to her sweetheart;

  Blood-red eyes now filled with brine.


Said the Captain to his pirates,

  “Hounds, my hate is now forgot:

Clementine still loves me truly,

  Though I thought she loved me not.

Darling Clementine I’m coming

  Back to tie the marriage knot!”


Thus the Captain, then to the postmen,

   Bending knees he seemed to pray:

“Sorry, sorry, please forgive me,

  Friends, my friends, what can I say?

Kangaroo is now your post-ship,

  Sail her near and far away.”


Pirate dogs now live as lubbers,

  Sleep on hearths far from the sea,

Home is now the Captain’s castle,

  Clementine now cooks their tea;

But the dogs still chase those rabbits,

  O’er the fields now running free.

Pirate dogs still dance their hornpipes:

  Diddle-di diddle-di dum di dee.



My Mandolin


A mandolin, my mandolin,

Not a guitar or a violin,

Not a tortoise or a pangolin,

Not an emperor or a mandarin,

Nor a statue nor a mannequin,

Nor a sedan chair nor a palanquin,

But a plectrum-plucky mandolin,

An eight-stringed maple mandolin

Whose strings go zing

And ring-a-ling-ling,

And dum-diddly-ding –

Music to make your heart sing –

Try it, it will make you grin

If you too learn to play the mandolin.


All poems © 2009 Mark Walker


 See also Carmina Latina


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