Your daily dose of adorable

Now We Are Six by Bloomsbury AuctionsMy mother used to have us children memorize poems in the summers.  I don’t remember if we got a reward or not (learning to dive merited a candy bar, so I suspect the same for poem-memorization), but we didn’t resist.

The easiest poems to memorize were A.A. Milne’s from the wonderful When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.  Funny and sing-songy, his poems practically demanded memorization, like this, from “Disobedience”:




James James

Morrison Morrison

Weatherby George Dupree

Took great

Care of his Mother

Though he was only three.

James James

Said to his Mother,

“Mother,” he said, said he;

“You must never go down to the end of the town, if

you don’t go down with me.”



Child's Garden of Verses (Russel) cover by katinthecupboardFustier and less fun were Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems from Child’s Garden of Verses, but for some reason I still remember the first two lines of one of the poems.  And I never even understood it.  Maybe I just liked the imperative.


Fairy Bread

COME up here, O dusty feet!

Here is fairy bread to eat.

Here in my retiring room,

Children, you may dine

On the golden smell of broom

And the shade of pine;

And when you have eaten well,

Fairy stories hear and tell.


This is all by way of introducing the most adorable youtube video I have ever seen.  Here is a little boy—a three-year old little boy!—-reciting Billy Collin’s “Litany.”  What marvelous parents, to feed their son’s delight in the sounds and flow of language.


If you want to follow along the lengthy poem he’s memorized, click on the “add to” button.


Go ahead and listen—it could be the happiest 2 minutes of your day.  Here’s the link:




  1. Sean Enright

    Hi Maggie, An old neighbor from Ashburton Lane has become a fan! Love your site — such a great idea. Here’s one by Kipling I’ve always loved but found obtuse.

    (to Departmental Ditties)

    I have eaten your bread and salt.
    I have drunk your water and wine.
    In deaths ye died I have watched beside,
    And the lives ye led were mine.

    Was there aught that I did not share
    In vigil or toil or ease, —
    One joy or woe that I did not know,
    Dear hearts across the seas?

    I have written the tale of our life
    For a sheltered people’s mirth,
    In jesting guise — but ye are wise,
    And ye know what the jest is worth.

    1. poemelf

      Hi Sean! I remember when your book Goof came out, I felt such an allegiance….when I moved to Detroit no one could say Goof properly or understand what it meant. Funny, I just saw Susan and Ann and we were talking about Wizda routes. Love all those B-town terms.

      I’ll have to check out your website and see if there’s a short (accessible) poem to elf sometime this year.

      As for Kipling’s poem….there must be some background I’m missing, because I don’t get it. But I like the rhythm of it very much.

      Thanks for writing!

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