Monday, April 6, 2009

A Poem for Christopher Robin

I didn’t read A.A. Milne as a child. I was an adult before I discovered Pooh Corner and Milne’s lovely stories sprinkled with verse. Any writer for children who has tried to tell a story in rhyming verse knows just how difficult it can be and why editors tend to say don’t send it to them! Here is the perfect explanation.

From The House at Pooh Corner

“Don’t Bustle me,” said Eeyore, getting up slowly. “Don’t now-then me.” He took a piece of paper from behind his ear, and unfolded it. “Nobody knows anything about this,” he went on. “This is a Surprise.” He coughed in an important way, and began again: “What-nots and Etceteras, before I begin, or perhaps I should say, before I end, I have a piece of Poetry to read to you. Hitherto—hitherto—a long word meaning—well, you’ll see what it means directly—hitherto, as I was saying, all the Poetry in the forest has been written by Pooh, a Bear with a Pleasing manner but a Positively Startling Lack of Brain. The Poem which I am now about to read to you was written by Eeyore, or Myself, in a Quiet Moment. If somebody will take Roo’s bull’s-eye away from him, and wake up Owl, we shall all be able to enjoy it. I call it—POEM.”

This was it.

Christopher Robin is going.
At least I think he is.
Nobody knows.
But he is going—
I mean he goes
(To rhyme with “knows”)
Do we care?
(To rhyme with “where”)
We do
Very much.
(I haven’t got a rhyme for that
“is” in the second line yet.
(Now I haven’t got a rhyme for
bother. Bother.)
Those two bothers will have to
rhyme with each other Buther.
The fact is this is more difficult
than I thought,
I ought—
(Very good indeed)
I ought
To begin again,
But it is easier
To stop.
Christopher Robin, good-bye,
And all your friends
I mean all your friend
(Very awkward this, it keeps
going wrong)
Well, anyhow, we send
Our love

--A.A. Milne

1 comment:

  1. I will recite this poem at the memorial of our Christopher on Saturday.