The owl and the Pussycat went to sea,
in a beautiful pea-green boat,
they took some honey and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
I did not grow up in a bookish home, and I certainly got very little in the way of poetry in my upbringing. School obviously provided in this regard, classic Swedish stuff; they start you on nursery rhymes and then it gets more serious as you move up years, but it’s still very little of it, more maybe I wasn’t paying attention and spent more time on the novels.
Against this backdrop we have one of my few poetry-memories from childhood, one that I thought for the longest time that I had imagined. It made no sense you see, “runcible spoon” and that, so I never said anything. It should be factored in that I’m Swedish, living in Sweden with a part of my upbringing abroad however. I’m not sure anyone would have understood what I meant had I brought it up here. And then a few years ago I was reading a collection of poems and here it was ;The pussycat&the owl by Edward Lear.
Had I put more faith in my own memories, I don’t since I’m continuously told I must be wrong(even though I’m proven to be correct very often) or frankly put in an effort to read poetry I would have discovered this a very long time ago, it’s a famous piece of word smithery. Anthropomorphic animals, made up words and rhymes to boot; 10 out of 10 will like.
It’s been voted the most popular children’s poem(beating Humpty Dumpty) and had inspired plenty of imagery,references and retellings. There is a pub in the East End named after it. I myself have made a punch after it, and I should make it again and share the recipe(or just translate the blogpost). I reread it recently as it was in A poem for every night of the year and it got me thinking; there should be a pretty fabric pattern too there somewhere…
Things mentioned in this post;