Rebecca (Who Slammed Doors And Perished Miserably)

17 04 2010

Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids coverBecause of National Poetry Month, I was blogging over at Soup Blog about Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids (edited by Jim Haynes). It has over 600 poems to share with kids, and includes many of my favourite poets, like Alfred Noyes, TS Eliot, Robert Louis Stevenson and Hilaire Belloc. Haynes has some of his own poems in there too, and they are excellent (and some are very funny).

So, I came across this poem on page 334 of Big Book of Verse, and thought I’d share it here. (Note to self: Do not slam doors. Ever.)

Rebecca (Who Slammed Doors And Perished Miserably) by Hilaire Belloc

A trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming doors.
A wealthy banker’s little daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this furious sport.

She would deliberately go
And slam the door like billy-o!
To make her Uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild;
She was an aggravating child…

It happened that a marble bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door this little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that.

Her funeral sermon (which was long
And followed by a sacred song)
Mentioned her virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her vices too,
And showed the deadful end of one
Who goes and slams the door for fun.

The children who were brought to hear
The awful tale from far and near
Were much impressed, and inly swore
They never more would slam the door,
— As often they had done before.

A review copy of Big  Book of Aussie Verse was sent to me by Allen & Unwin.
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5 responses

17 04 2010
Julie

I love that! Thanks for sharing. I just read it to my kids and they loved it. It reminds of me Shel Silverstein. We’ve been reading lots of poetry this month too. This is one my kids enjoy from Alphabestiary, Animal Poems from A to Z, compiled by Jane Yolen. The author is Anonymous.

There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside–
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

18 04 2010
boobook

Hi Julie,
We love that limerick, too! My 6yo is currently obsessed with limericks, so we’ve been reading heaps of them.

Here’s another that makes us laugh, from Best Book of Verse(it’s anonymous):
This gramophone needle won’t move;
It appears to be stuck in a groove,
In a groove … in a groove …
In a groove … in a groove …
In a groove … in a groove … in a groove …

I admit I did have to explain what a gramophone was, and why it was so funny. The kids were a bit mystified till then … now they quote it and roll around on the floor laughing, thinking they are oh-so-clever. 🙂

18 04 2010
Katrina Germein

Thanks for the introduction to a new poem Rebecca. I think my favourite Hilaire Belloc poem remains ‘Tarantella’. It’s such a great poem to read out loud. I love it. http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/tarantella/

18 04 2010
boobook

Oh I do love Tarantella.
When I was about 10, our teacher at school had us learn ‘Jim, Who Ran Away From HIs Nurse And Was Eaten By A Lion’, to recite at a festival. We thought it was WONDERFUL. I used to mutter to myself ‘and on this inauspicious day, he slipped his hand and RAN away’. That little collection of his is all rather gruesome. I think that’s why we liked it so much!

18 04 2010
boobook

PS it makes me think of Roald Dahl’s revolting rhymes, too. (Other rhymes that we thought were wonderful!)

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