The Beautiful Pea-Green Boat
When I was on another walk today, this time around Beecraigs Loch in West Lothian, I came across something that brought to mind a poem which I haven’t thought about in years. The item in question was a pea-green boat. Any ideas about the poem? Yes, you’re quite right:
The Owl and the Pussycat
by Edward Lear
The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are.”
Pussy said to the Owl “You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?”
Said the Piggy, “I will”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Do you remember this poem from your childhood? It’s always been one of my favourites, despite the fact that it caused me no little consternation. I had no idea what ‘quince’ was or a ‘runcible spoon’. I was unsure as to whether we had any Bong trees growing in our garden. I was concerned that the newlyweds wouldn’t be able to spend a £5 note if it had honey all over it. But of course, this is the wonderful thing about nonsense poems, isn’t it? We don’t need to know what all the words mean; we can allow our selves to get caught up by the magic of a great imagination, until we too are adrift with the owl and the pussycat.
Was this one of your favourites poems too? What other poems did you enjoy as a child? What is it about nonsense poetry that makes us love it so?