Friday, January 09, 2009

Poetry Friday: Pooh on Poetry

I was reading House at Pooh Corner last night, and there were several lines that jumped out at me regarding poetry.

"Pooh and Piglet walked slowly after him*. And as they walked Piglet said nothing, because he couldn't think of anything, and Pooh said nothing, because he was thinking of a poem. And when he had thought of it he began:

What shall we do about poor little Tigger?
If he never eats nothing he'll never get bigger.
He doesn't like honey and haycorn and thistles
Because of the taste and because of the bristles.
And all the good things which an animal likes
Have the wrong sort of swallow or too many spikes.

'He's quite big enough anyhow,' said Piglet.
'He isn't really very big.'
'Well, he seems so.'

Pooh was thoughtful when he heard this, and then he murmured to himself:

But whatever his weight in pounds, shillings, and ounces,
He always seems bigger because of his bounces.

'And that's the whole poem,' he said. 'Do you like it, Piglet?'
'All except the shillings,' said Piglet. 'I don't think they ought to be there.'
'They wanted to come in after the pounds,' explained Pooh, 'so I let them. It is the best way to write poetry, letting things come.' 'Oh I didn't know,' said Piglet.

(30-31 of House on Pooh Corner)

"Pooh followed slowly. He had something better to do than to find a new house for Owl; he had to make up a Pooh song about the old one**. Because he had promised Piglet days and days ago that he would, and whenever he and Piglet had met since, Piglet didn't actually say anything, but you knew at once why he didn't; and if anybody mentioned Hums or Trees or String or Storms-in-the-Night, Piglet's nose went all pink at the tip and he talked about something quite different in a hurried sort of way.

'But it isn't Easy,' said Pooh to himself, as he looked at what had once been Owl's House. 'Because Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you.'
He waited hopefully...
'Well,' said Pooh after a long wait, 'I shall begin 'Here lies a tree' because it does, and then I'll see what happens.'
This is what happened:

Here lies a tree which Owl (a bird)
Was fond of when it stood on end,
And Owl was talking to a friend
Called Me (in case you hadn't heard)
When something Oo occurred.

For lo! the wind was blusterous
And flattened out his favorite tree;
And things looked bad for him and we--
Looked bad, I mean, for he and us--
I've never known them wuss.

The Piglet (PIGLET) thought a thing:
'Courage' he said. 'There's always hope.
I want a thinnish piece of rope
Or, if there isn't any, bring
A thickish piece of string.'

So to the letter-box he rose,
While Pooh and Owl said 'Oh!' and 'Hum!'
And where the letters always come
(Called LETTERS ONLY) Piglet sqoze
His head and then his toes.

O gallant Piglet (PIGLET)! Ho!
Did Piglet tremble? Did he blinch?
No, No, he struggled inch by inch
Through LETTERS ONLY, as I know
Because I saw him go.

He ran and ran, and then he stood
And shouted, 'Help for Owl, a bird,
And Pooh, a bear!' until he heard
The others coming through the wood
As quickly as they could.

'Help-help and Rescue!' Piglet cried,
And showed the others where to go.
Sing ho! for Piglet (PIGLET) ho!
And soon the door was opened wide
And we were both outside!

Sing ho! for Piglet, ho!

'So there it is,' said Pooh, when he had sung this to himself three times. 'It's come different from what I thought it would, but it's come. Now I must go and sing it to Piglet.'

(House On Pooh Corner 144-148)

*Him being Tigger
**Owl's old house

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Sherry said...

Thanks, Becky. I need some Pooh today.

Anonymous said...

'They wanted to come in after the pounds,' explained Pooh, 'so I let them. It is the best way to write poetry, letting things come.' 'Oh I didn't know,' said Piglet.

Love it. Pooh is sheer genius.

Anonymous said...

Becky, thanks--I love Pooh. The line, "It is the best way to write poetry, letting things come" makes me want to go find my copy of The Tao of Pooh. Pretty much everything I need to know about life, I can learn from Pooh and friends. Stay cozy!