Things that look like things
by Michèle Nardelli
I have always loved simple rhyming stories for small children, especially when they are a little bit goofy and imaginative.
I was incredibly fortunate to have a mother who read to me. Not just at bedtime, but actually for long periods during the day.
In the years before school, in an era when childcare was less acceptable and accessible, I would go to my father’s office. He was self-employed and my mother worked with him several days a week.
On those office days, mum kept me occupied and out of the way by reading to me from Golden Books and one fabulous, old encyclopedia that had a particular section of short English ditties and stories.
Some of them dating back to the 1800s, such as William Brighty Rands’ Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore, still entertained a 20th century child, because of their simplicity, humour, and lyricism. And as if his name wasn't quirky enough, what a character was Rands, leaving school at 13, but going on to master Greek, Latin, French and Spanish and even tackling Chinese in his later years. He was a parliamentary reporter but wrote many, many children’s books under his own and assumed names. His poems are generally optimistic and often full of humour ...as you can see from this snippet...
“Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore —
No doubt you have heard the name before —
Was a boy who never would shut a door!
The wind might whistle, the wind might roar,
And teeth be aching and throats be sore,
But still he never would shut the door.
His father would beg, his mother implore,
"Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore,
We really do wish you would shut the door!"
My own little story is vaguely inspired by AA Milne’s, "Brownie."
The things that look like things
In the corner of my bedroom
lives a great big, scary bear.
But when I wake up in the morning,
you know he’s never there.
Instead, there is just a hat and coat hanging near the window.
I was trundling off to school,
when on the poles that carry power,
there were birds like notes on song sheets
singing loud, then even louder.
Sometimes, I guess, things just look like other things.
Looking closely at my grandpa
and at his big old wrinkly hands.
I swear I see some rivers,
and a large map of Japan.
Now I know that this happens, I see new things everywhere.
Mummy made a cake today,
but when it was baked, she wept,
I said it looked just like the moon,
Where astronauts had stepped.
Mummy said that just wasn’t funny and she couldn’t see any astronaut footprints.
I was looking in the mirror,
trying hard to comb my hair,
when for just a little moment,
a man was standing there.
I looked just like my dad; it was spooky.
So, if things are more than what they seem,
you should look closely every day,
to catch the things that look like things,
before they go away.
I hope you enjoyed this little children's ditty.