20 August 2011

Half the time they munched the grass

Growing up I have a fond memory of an old poetry book, a book that was old by the time I was given it, that must have belonged to my mother when she herself was younger. Dating from the early 60's the Oxford Book of Poetry for Children was a purple-covered hardback trove of lyrical delights and amazing illustrations. The book held near-religious qualities for me as a child, revered along with blue-covered paperbacks by AA Milne, but although filled with hundreds of poems from Kipling and Carroll, TS Eliot and Edward Lear, there are only a handful of lines that have somehow stuck in my mind to this day.

My childhood copy vanished into the ether long ago, but something called it to mind the other day and thanks to the magic of the internets a worn and much-loved copy arrived in the post a few days ago, musty and well-thumbed, and for your delectation I now happily present the most amazing poem in the world as selected by my five year-old self:

Cows, by James Reeves

Half the time they munched the grass, and all the time they lay
Down in the water-meadows, the lazy month of May,
A-chewing,
A-mooing,
To pass the hours away.

"Nice weather," said the brown cow.
"Ah," said the white.
"Grass is very tasty."
"Grass is all right."

Half the time they munched the grass, and all the time they lay
Down in the water-meadows, the lazy month of May,
A-chewing,
A-mooing,
To pass the hours away.

"Rain coming," said the brown cow.
"Ah," said the white.
"Flies is very tiresome."
"Flies bite."

Half the time they munched the grass, and all the time they lay
Down in the water-meadows, the lazy month of May,
A-chewing,
A-mooing,
To pass the hours away.

"Time to go," said the brown cow.
"Ah,"’ said the white.
"Nice chat," "Very pleasant."
"Night.""Night."

Half the time they munched the grass, and all the time they lay
Down in the water-meadows, the lazy month of May,
A-chewing,
A-mooing,
To pass the hours away.

---------

Seriously, how could you bring yourself to eat any animal that was that well-mannered?

Labels:

4 Comments:

At 1:22 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was one of my favorite poems when I was a child. Thank you for reprinting it. My copy of the poem was in a collection of poems and prose along with the beautifully primitive paintings of Grandma Moses. That is one of the few books I still have from my childhood... also well thumbed and musty!

 
At 9:59 am, Blogger Mutuwakale said...

I remember I was forced to memorise that poem for the fear of a lash in grade 8. We had a very good teacher (so I realise now). She considered that the brown cow was just too noise, talkative while the white cow kept eating hence it could only say, Ah, whilst chewing. I don't think I disagree with her even now.

 
At 2:57 pm, Blogger Etheldwitha said...

I have often said to myself "nice day, said the brown cow..." whenever I saw cows in a field, remembering when I was 7 or 8 having to learn this poem to recite as a class when I was at Uxendon Manor Primary School in the early 1950s. How lovely it is to realise it is indeed a published poem and to rediscover it on a whim just by putting in the words 'nice day said the brown cow' to an Internet search. I can still picture us all standing on the stage reciting the poem. Happy days!

 
At 10:49 pm, Blogger MillieAbbo said...

I've spent the past 15 years searching for this poem as one of my favourites as a child. Someone reminded me of it tonight so I thought time to Google and see if it emerges. You super star!!! I'm now going to print and frame it so that one day my children can enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

Older Posts... ...Newer Posts