If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Children's Poetry: Marriage Edition

As some of you may know, I'm a big fan of children's poetry.  In fact "children's poems about dirt" and "children's poems about rocks" are common search terms for my blog traffic.  (Welcome all those brought inadvertently to this post.)  I have a nice little collection of children's poetry in my library.  However when I went searching through my books for a particular poem today, it was nowhere in sight.

I have the poem stuck in my head because of an incident that occurred last night.  Pupzilla has a peculiar habit of needing to be let out as soon as both b and I are cozy and comfy in bed.  She also occasionally wakes up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night and will insist on going out to "bark it up."  A middle of the night request is almost always handled by b, since I will sleep right through it.  However when we are both awake and lying on our respective sides of the bed it really should be any one's call.  Often we will both lie there, as she huffs and clicks by the kitchen door, trying to pretend that nothing is happening.  Nine times out of ten b will get up to let her out and then back in again.  Last night he asked how it came to be his job and I told him he was just lucky that way.

But the exchange made me think of this poem that my sister and I always enjoyed (and used to recite to each other) as children. Since I couldn't find it in my collection I searched the internets and also found this lovely print.  The original page is here.

Get Up and Bar The Door

It fell about the Martinmas time
And a gay time it was then,
When our goodwife got puddings to make,
And she's boil'd them in the pan.

The wind sae cauld both south and north,
And blew into the floor,
Quoth our goodman to our goodwife,
'Gae out and bar the door.'

'My hand is in my hussyskap,
Goodman, as ye may see,
And it shou'dna be barr'd this hundred year,
It's no be barr'd for me.'

They made a paction 'tween them twa,
They made it firm and sure,
That the first word whae'er shou'd speak,
Shou'd rise and bar the door.

Then by there came two gentlemen,
At twelve o'clock at night,
And they could neither see house nor hall,
Nor coal or candlelight.

'Now whether is this a rich man's house,
Or whether is it a poor?'
But ne'er a word wad ane o' them speak,
For barring of the door.

And first they ate the white pudding,
And then they ate the black.
Tho' muckle thought the goodwife to hersel',
Yet ne'er a word she spake.

Then said the one unto the other,
'Here man tak ye my knife,
Do ye tak aff the auld man's beard,
And I'll kiss the goodwife.'

O up then started our goodman,
An angry man was he;
'Will ye kiss my wife before my e'en,
And sca'd me wi' pudding'bree'?'

Then up and start our goodwife,
Gied three steps on the floor:
'Goodman, you've spoken the foremost word,
Get up and bar the door.'

The moral of this story being: wives don't give in.


Annie said...

Hi Brigindo,
Great poem and an illustration from one of my favorites! It must have been fun reciting this, with the strong accents!

JaneB said...

I know this as a ballad rather than a children's poem - Maddy Prior does a great version of it.

Mom said...

I always liked, "Daddy Fell Into the Pond."

Julie said...

Great poem and picture! I love how you describe Pupzilla's nightly excursions. They always want out just when you're comfortable.

"Katy Bar The Door" is an expression we use back home. I always assumed the expression came from this poem, but I'm not sure.