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douglas a curry

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A Nursery Rhyme
by douglas a curry
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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This is a simple rhyme about two venerable tellers and purveyors of children's stories: Dr Seuss and Mother Goose. It tells of their take on the current state of childhood literacy and how literature affects this.


Dr Seuss and Mother Goose were having tea one day
“Your pastry looks tasty,” the doctor said” in his rhyming way
“Got ‘em from the cupboards at Ol’ Mother Hubbard’s
Just past the three pigs’ house, the only one left standing,
--the brick one that beat back the wolf,” she said, as she was handing
him a slice of pie.

“That Little Jackie Horner – man what a goner!” was Dr Seuss’ reply.
‘Look at his thumb print in this slice. It ain’t cool, ain’t even nice.
And that Jack Sprat and his fat wife, I can’t figure for my life
for the brilliant cat-hatter that I am,
how she could eat the fat and he the lean, but not my green eggs and ham!

You seen Little Sally Walker? – the little hip-shaker?
How ‘bout the butcher, the baker, the candle-stick maker?
And, Little Black Sambo? I heard he went Rambo
And tore up the briar patch. Caused br’er Rabbit a problem
cause he thought Sambo would rob him, maybe
but he was cool, stopped acting a fool when he saw his cousin, Tar Baby.”

“Oh I don’t know about these children today,” Mother Goose said with a frown
“I ain’t seen such a mess, well I guess since London Bridges came falling down.
Not since someone sat in the three bears chairs, and someone slept in their bed.
Not even when your silly cat went to wearing a hat on his head!”

“Well it ain’t getting better, no it ain’t, I say it ain’t”
Said Doctor Suess in his usual way of being quaint.
“Cause today they don’t read, and half of them can’t write
And they use a TV screen and buttons to fight
monsters, ninjas, aliens, and police – yes, police!
They don’t want to be the good guy; they want to be the thief!

The game most popular of all those bought … Oh…
I think they call it ‘Grand Theft Auto!’
And these kids tell stories you wouldn’t want to hear
With beats so strong, they’ll bust your ear.

Little baby boys who can’t even walk
Will learn how to rap before they learn how to talk!
And if the itsy bitsy spider comes down that water spout
They’ll pull out an uzi and blow his brains out.”

Mother Goose just hung her head.
She looked at Doctor Seuss and said
“We tried to do good with our nursery rhymes,
but I guess we are now behind the times.

Someone else must now take a lead
And give these babies some new things to read
that speak to their life, and not their death
Who will do this? One that's new, or one that's left?"

They sat in silence and sipped their tea.
Their concern for the children was easy to see.
But what was needed? And who would do?
Better ask the old lady who lived in a shoe....

Down a yellow brick road, a Pied Piper can beckon
through our children's books and bring them to reckon
with themselves, their world, the things they should know
to make them survive, and thrive, and grow.

Though of lesser acclaim than the Doctor and the Mother,
we writers and artists have a task like none other.
The very tough thing that is ours to do
is to answer Mother Goose's question, “Who?”

Doug Curry
December, 2008

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