Monday, March 31, 2014



The Jumblies


I

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,
In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, ‘You’ll all be drowned!’
They called aloud, ‘Our Sieve ain’t big,
But we don’t care a button! we don’t care a fig!
In a Sieve we’ll go to sea!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


II

They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a riband by way of a sail,
To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,
‘O won’t they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it’s extremely wrong
In a Sieve to sail so fast!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


III

The water it soon came in, it did,
The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, ‘How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
While round in our Sieve we spin!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


IV

And all night long they sailed away;
And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
In the shade of the mountains brown.
‘O Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a sieve and a crockery-jar,
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
In the shade of the mountains brown!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


V

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
And no end of Stilton Cheese.
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


VI

And in twenty years they all came back,
In twenty years or more,
And every one said, ‘How tall they’ve grown!’
For they’ve been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
And the hills of the Chankly Bore;
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And everyone said, ‘If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,—
To the hills of the Chankly Bore!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

-Edward Lear (1812 - 1888)

Since it is April 1st, a little nonsense seemed in order for my Tuesday Poem this week. My first ever poetry book was The Golden Treasury of Poetry, edited by Louis Untermeyer. I'm pretty sure that I recall that "The Jumblies" was one of the poems in this collection, alongside other favourites such as Ogden Nash's "Tale of Custard the Dragon".

Edward Lear was both an artist and writer, now known primarily for his nonsense verse. He popularised the limerick form.

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site. Around thirty bloggers each post a poem on Tuesdays (once a week or sometimes less often depending on other commitments). Every week one of the group edits and posts a poem to the main site, and participants are listed in the side bar. They are all well worth a visit.

Do you want to win poetry books? I am participating in the Big Poetry Giveaway this month. For details, scroll down to my previous post.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Big Poetry Giveaway


The big poetry giveaway is on again! Kelli at Book of Kells started this five years ago, and I tried to join in last year. Somehow it didn't quite work out, as I e-mailed the winners of the books I planned to give away, and didn't receive any return e-mails advising postal addresses. So I am trying again with "double or nothing".

Here is how it works:
Participants give away two books of poetry, one must be by another poet. To win, all you have to do is leave a comment saying you would like to be in the draw, with an e-mail address, otherwise I can't contact you if you win. At the end of April I will draw the winners, e-mail you and ask for a postal address.

So, from last year I have on offer one copy of The Nature of Things: Poems from the New Zealand Landscape which is a very beautiful book - besides poems, there is the added bonus of beautiful landscape photography to admire.

Then, this year I have added one copy of Sue Wootton's third book of poetry, By Birdlight. Sue is my current favourite New Zealand poet, and this collection more than matches the quality of her two earlier books.

Then, a double dose of the book that my small poetry group published - so, not quite my own book, but a quarter of it is my own:
Flap:The Chook Book 2. I have two copies to give away.

I hope that this year I can actually make this work and get all four books in the mail. The draw will be at the end of April, since April is National Poetry Month in the USA. (Lucky Americans get a whole month, in New Zealand we have National Poetry Day in July).

To find more bloggers participating in the Big Poetry Giveaway, hop on over to Kelli Agodon's blog and this post.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Two Cool Websites

No Tuesday Poem this week, as I have been a bit slow in organising permissions. Instead, I have a couple of links for inspiration.

The Phrontistery is a website that I came across while doing a google search for "cotton with a bubbly texture" - I was trying to recall the name of a fabric often used for children's clothes, it was seersucker. The site has, among many other things, thirty different topic specific word lists including one with the names of more fabrics than I had ever imagined existed. If you want some new words, go here.

If you prefer visual inspiration to word based inspiration, try Colossal. Amazing images of artistic projects be they sculptures, paintings, drawings, photography or just too hard to categorise, from around the globe. They have several new posts every day so there is always something new to inspire.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Tuesday Poem: On the Need for a New Flag

On the Need for a New Flag

keep
        the old one
seen by Kupe
                Tasman
Cook

three stripes
        blue
                green
        blue

sea
            sky
land between

flown to mark
            arrivings
leavings

© Catherine Fitchett 2004
first published in The Chook Book:Free Range Organic Poetry

Since the topic has been in the news lately, I thought I would post this poem inspired by a view of land while crossing on the Cook Strait Ferry. (For the record, I never liked the idea of the silver fern on black as our replacement flag, but I rather like Kyle Lockwood's flag design).

For other Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site.