Children's Poems by Casely-Hayford
The vulture's the untidiest bird that I have
His nails are always dirty, his mouth is
He wears his waistcoat crooked, then he
forgets his tie.
He wears his top coat inside out, and winks
a lazy eye,
Then ogles up with flattery, whenever you
One sees from the whole jumble of clothing
that he wears,
He sleeps without undressing, and he never
says his prayers.
The vulture never has the time for a
But muddles through its filth and dirt and
never has a laugh.
The vulture's the unhappiest bird that ever
lived, I ween.
No home, no friends, no people, and a heart
"Nancy, Nancy, where are you going?"
"Down to the brook to wash my clothes."
"How will you know the direction, Nancy?"
"I shall hear the brook singing and follow
"'What will you do when you got there, Nancy?"
"Wade into the stream, when I've climbed
down the slope."
"And what will you do in the stream then,
"Soak the clothes well; then Ill rub them
"But what will you do when you've soaped
"I shall beat them with my patta; I shall
Dub them, scrub them and bleach them in the
"Then what will you do when you've done that,
"Rinse them and dry them -- then my work is
[Patta = A kind of short paddle used for beating clothes clean]
I met the daintiest little ant,
Her waist was slim and narrow --
"I wonder if you've bones?" I asked,
"And are they filled with marrow?
Where are they situated,
Is what I'd like to know?
And are they lubricated
Like people's bones or no?
Surely you must have a skull,
Protection for your brains,
To know the rate and the exchange
Of market goods and gains?"
But by the time I'd finished
My wonderful oration,
My dainty ant, distinctly bored,
Had changed her situation.
I met a handsome lizard upon the gravel walk,
And so I stopped politely and asked him for
He nodded once, he nodded twice to make his
Glanced up at me with wee bright eyes and
nodded once again.
I said, "You live on flies. Do you eat them
alive or dead?
And when you eat them, do they still keep
buzzing in your head?"
He shrugged, then very haughtily inclined to
me his ear
Insinuating it was time I made my meaning
"I'm sorry," I began, "but please, this
question if I may;
Do you, Sir, shake your head for no and nod
your head for aye?"
He glanced at me with cold disdain, ignoring
He slowly and deliberately climbed on the
He turned, he nodded once, twice, thrice to
make his meaning plain,
Glanced up at me, with wee bright eyes and
nodded once again.
Said Baby Rat to Father Rat, "Why are you
"To make another tunnel, son, away from
Said Baby Rat to Father Rat. "Say, Pa,
"Tradition says of exits, a rat should have
Said Baby Rat to Father Rat, "There's a
fragrance on the breeze."
"It's nothing much, my son" Pa said, "but
good odiferous cheese."
"Say, Pa, are you a carpenter?" enquired
"My whiskers! What impertinence? Take
this -- and that -- and that."
The squealing, yells and scampering feet,
had their own tale to tell.
Pa Rat was thrashing Baby Rat, and he
deserved it well.
"I am still alive, I cling to my parent
A young leaf was crying.
"I am still
But the night wind caught her and held her
He had chilled her heart.
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