The Crocodile

A poem from Roald Dahl’s Dirty Beasts with an illustration by Quentin Blake.  Taken from The Roald Dahl Treasury, a handsome collection of pieces written by Dahl and published by Jonathan Cape.

Blakecroc 1

No animal is half so vile
As Crocky-Wock the crocodile.
On Saturdays he likes to crunch
Six juicy children for his lunch,
And he especially enjoys
Just three of each, three girls, three boys.
He smears the boys (to make them hoy)
With mustard from the mustard pot.
But mustard doesn’t go with girls,
It tastes all wrong with plaits and curls.
With them, what goes extremely well
Is butterscotch and caramel.
It’s such a super marvellous treat
When boys are hot and girls are sweet.
At least that’s Crocky’s point of view.
He ought to know. He’s had a few.
That’s all for now. It’s time for bed.
Lie down and rest your sleepy head…
Ssh! Listen! What is that I hear
Gallumphing softly up the stair?
Go lock the door and fetch my gun!
Go on, child, hurry! Quickly, run!
No, stop! Stand back! He’s coming in!
Oh, look, that greasy greenish skin!
The shining teeth, the greedy smile!
It’s CROCKY-WOCK, THE CROCODILE!

The sound of one hand clapping

Apologies to any and all followers of my blog for the long silence since my last post. My life has been somewhat topsy-turvied by various events, but I now feel ready to blog again like we did last summer. Remember, a book is not just for Christmas, you can buy them all year round at The Glass Key bookshop or through The Glass Key website (http://www.theglasskey.co.uk).

To start I am posting another poem taken from the small book Your Animal Poems published by Gordon Fraser in 1969 and illustrated by Quentin Blake.

The Two Mice by James Reeves

Two Mice

There met two mice at Scarborough
     Beside the rushing sea,
The one from Market Harborough
     The other from Dundee.

They shook their feet, they clapped their hands,
     And twirled their tales about;
They danced all day upon the sands
     Until the stars peeped out.

‘I’m much fatigued,’ the one mouse sighed,
     ‘And ready for my tea.’
‘Come hame awa’.’ the other cried,
     ‘And tak’ a crumb wi’ me.’

They slept awhile, and then next day
     Across the moors they went;
But sad to say, they lost their way
     And came to Stoke-on-Trent.

And there it soon began to rain,
     At which they cried full sore,
‘If ever we get home again,
     We’ll not go dancing more.’

The Cats of Kilkenny

The Cats

Another poem from the little book Your Animal Poems, this one is anonymous, with a drawing by Quentin Blake.

There were once two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought that was one cat too many;
So they fought and they fit,
They scratched and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats, there weren’t any.

Mice

Another poem from Your Animal Poems with a picture by Quentin Blake.

Mice

Mice
I think mice
Are rather nice.

   Their tails are long,
   Their faces small,
   They haven’t any
   Chins at all.
   Their ears are pink,
   Their teeth are white,
   They run about
   The house at night.
   They nibble things
   They shouldn’t touch,
   And no one seems
   To like them much.

But I think mice
Are nice.

ROSE FYLEMAN

Cat a poem by Eleanor Farjeon

Cat
Cat
      Scat!
Atter her, atter her,
Sleeky flatterer,
Spitfire chatterer,
Scatter her, scatter her
      Off her mat!
      Wuff!
      Wuff!
      Treat her rough!
Git her, git her
Whiskery spitter!
Catch her, catch her,
Green-eyed scratcher!
      Slathery
      Slithery
      Hisser
      Don’t miss her!
Run till you’re dithery,
      Hithery
      Thithery
      Pfitts! Pfitts!
      How she spits!
      Spitch! Spatch!
      Can’t she scratch!
Scritching the bark
Of the sycamore-tree,
She’s reached her ark
And’s hissing at me.
      Pfitts! Pfitts!
      Wuff! Wuff!
      Scat,
      Cat!
      That’s
      That!

ELEANOR FARJEON

Yet Gentle Will the Griffin be

Many years ago I edited a small book of poetry entitled Your Animal Poems. At the time my then wife was studying at the Royal College of Art and we had become friendly with Quentin Blake who was teaching illustration at the college. Quentin agreed to illustrate the book and I thought that in the coming days I would post some of the poems together with the accompanying illustrations in the hope that you might enjoy them.

Griffin

Yet Gentle Will the Griffin be
(What Grandpa Told the Children)

The moon? It is a griffin’s egg,
Hatching tomorrow night.
And how the little boys will watch
With shouting and delight
To see him break the shell and stretch
And creep across the sky.
The boys will laugh. The little girls,
I fear, may hide and cry.
Yet gentle will the griffin be,
Most decorous and fat,
And walk up to the Milky Way
And lap it like a cat.

VACHEL LINDSAY