Wednesday, 18 September 2013

A.A.Milne deprived

I grew up with no knowledge of  the author A.A. Milne (1882-1956).

My parents never read to me  from him, and he was never mentioned in my Infants and Junior Schools.

Thus I was deprived of Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger etc.  I was not harmed by this deprivation.

In fact when I was at Seminary (St. John's College, Nottingham U.K.) and met men and women who were Winnie-the-Pooh devotees I began to understand that A.A. Milne's works were rather "precious" , and that they appealed chiefly to the privileged British middle classes, and not to working class folks such as I.

I understand that in these United States A.A. Milne had a greater appeal and audience, but even here his followers are chiefly amongst the educated middle classes (and Disney devotees).

The American author Anne Lamott references one of A.A. Milne's  bits of doggerel in her wonderful 1997 novel "Crooked Little Heart".  It's the one which begins "James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree" (entitled "Disobedience)

I looked it up (see below)  to find that it is a beautifully silly  poem which I had never before encountered.
In the meantime I am enjoying some of Anne Lamott's gorgeously crafted novels. More about that tomorrow.

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."

James James
Morrison's Mother
Put on a golden gown.
James James Morrison's Mother
Drove to the end of the town.
James James Morrison's Mother
Said to herself, said she:
"I can get right down
to the end of the town
and be back in time for tea."

King John
Put up a notice,
"LOST or STOLEN or STRAYED!
JAMES JAMES MORRISON'S MOTHER
SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN MISLAID.
LAST SEEN
WANDERING VAGUELY:
QUITE OF HER OWN ACCORD,
SHE TRIED TO GET DOWN
TO THE END OF THE TOWN -
FORTY SHILLINGS REWARD!"

  James James
Morrison Morrison
(Commonly known as Jim)
Told his
Other relations
Not to go blaming him.
James James
Said to his Mother,
"Mother," he said, said he:
"You must never go down to the end of the town
without consulting me."

James James
Morrison's mother
Hasn't been heard of since.
King John said he was sorry,
So did the Queen and Prince.
King John
(Somebody told me)
Said to a man he knew:
If people go down to the end of the town, well,
what can anyone do?"

(Now then, very softly)
J.J.
M.M.
W.G.Du P.
Took great
C/O his M*****
Though he was only 3.
J.J. said to his M*****
"M*****," he said, said he:
"You-must-never-go-down-to-the-end-of-the-town-
if-you-don't-go-down-with-ME!"

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