Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Where do the Bong Trees grow?

The Owl and the Pussy-cat 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.

         My grandmother Harriett used to sing this to me when I was a child.  She sang to me often.  And eventually we sang it together, my grandma and I.  She was both an elementary teacher and grandma extraordinaire.  Looking back, I see how we bonded through our mutual love of language and literature.  She introduced me to Charlotte's Web (still my favorite book), Stuart Little, The Little Fish that Got Away, and the Little Engine that Could.  Before the books, she taught me about Little Miss Muffet, Humpty Dumpty, the Three Blind Mice, and the dish (who always ran away with the spoon!) Her stories became my stories.  Her world became my world. A magical world of make believe where three little kittens lose their mittens and the cow jumps over the moon. 
        Now I am grown and she has long since passed.  I have evolved into a "distinguished" reader, one with a diverse repertoire who deals out harsh criticism of prose and poetry. I know what literary theory you are talking about and where the comma goes (not here!).  I have a piece of paper on my wall that says I have spent many hours dissecting language here, there, and everywhere.  Although now, the words are big and the content complicated.
       Why am I telling you this?
       Well, driving home tonight, I glanced at the full moon and a line of this verse flew into my head.  Yet try as I must, I could not recall the entire tale.  So I decided to Google it (yes, I know I'm not supposed to begin a sentence with "so").  Then I re-read these verses that I have not seen or heard since childhood.  The verses had a profound impact on me.  This day was filled with so much drama and chaos that I cannot even gather the words to articulate how hard my brain was running all day long and the range of feelings I endured.  While I myself couldn't  find the words, I discovered that Edward Lear could and did.  Therefore instead of describing all of the events in detail and the conclusions I've drawn in an original poem, I think this story summarizes it. And for all of you without pieces of papers on your walls, this is what one can learn from the Owl and Pussycat:

           I should live while I am here.
Eat. Cry.
Sing a song (or, at least sing along).
Express love. Seize the moment.
Look up at the stars.
Hold someone's hand mentally or physically.
Run away for a year and a day. 
And, most imperatively, I should dance by the light of the moon.  The moon, the moon-- by God, I should dance by the light of the moon.

     Goodnight all and thanks for listening xoxo


Olive Tree said...

very insightful post. beautiful poem.

Brian Miller said...

that was awesome...yeah lot to be taken from tht song as far as wisdom on how to live...

Taylor Boomer said...

lovely adventure story, glad to see you share.

Mrsupole said...

I truly hope my grandkids have such fond memories of me as I treasure every moment I spend with them.

You were truly blessed to have a grandma who spent all that time teaching and singing with you. I remember as a child singing so many rhymes. At times a saying brings up a snippet of one of them and like you I have a hard time remembering the whole rhyme.

I was just wondering if you found a website that has them all consolidated in one place? It would be nice to see them again.

Thanks so much for playing in this weeks Theme Thursday and taking us down memory lane.

God bless.

Marjorie said...

I think I'll dance by the light of the moon myself. I really like that poem. I used to read it to my kids when they were really little, but I lost the book it was in in a move.

Geoff Maritz said...

No papers on my wall but I do enjoy reading. Oh how I wish I had grandchildren to read stories to and to sing with, so much fun.
Oh by the way, the Bong tree grows on the east coast of Africa, just in case you were wondering.
Blessings my well read friend, Geoff.

Dana Leah said...

i used to read the story of The Owl and the Pussycat all the time growing up, it was one of my favorites, the way the words flowed in such easy form...

i'm so happy that in your piece you chose to dance by the light of the moon.


anthony said...

very awesome.

Kaplan Step 2

Home Gyms said...

Thanks for the post mate you have written it very well.

MOV said...

new reader here. this is a beautiful essay you've written, and the story was one of my favorite from my own childhood connection with my grandmother. my grandfather even painted this vision on a canvas for her (yes, the pussycat looked alarmingly like a squirrel-- we can't all be Henri Rousseau). thanks for bringing this back to me, in a moment when I need to be reminded to look up at the stars above.


karen said...

My children and I love this book so deeply, as much for the artwork as for the words. It is all so joyous, ridiculous and peaceful.

I plan to pull it out tomorrow for a read with them.

And also, we will be out looking for snowy owls, which are apparently in the 'hood these days (well, at a beach near enough to us) and if we see the light of the moon, we shall dance with those owls too.

-blessed holy socks said...

How beautifull, full of beauty. Bravo!

You're a writer? Kinda, sorta? Me, too. Kinda, sorta. I know for a fact, however, you gotta whole lotta intelligence behind those two ears, girl; thus, I wanna give you my finite existence: to intrinsically value the Great Beyond which I’ve learned to appreciate, to visualize the fundamental reality of infinity is why I‘m here for a teeny-weeny amount of time. Looky here...

Precisely why I had our ‘philanthropic + epiphany’ (=so much to give + vision): wanna see a perfectly cognizant, fully-spectacular, Son-ripened-Heaven?? … yet, I’m not sure if we're on the same page if you saw what I saw. Greetings, earthling. Because I was an actual NDE on the outskirts of the Great Beyond at 15 yet wasn’t allowed in, lemme share with you what I actually know Seventh-Heaven’s Big-Bang’s gonna be like: meet this advanced, bombastic, ex-mortal Upstairs for the most extra-groovy-paradox, pleasure-beyond-measure, Ultra-Yummy-Reality-Addiction in the Great Beyond for a BIG-ol, kick-ass, party-hardy, robust-N-risqué-passion you DO NOT wanna miss the sink-your-teeth-in-the-smmmokin’-hot-deal. Cya soon, girl…