Sing, cuckoo, sing

November 21, 2014 @ 7:23 am | Filed under:

Pardon me!
Image source: Bill Ebbesen | Wikimedia Commons

Today is the last meeting of this year’s Poetry Club. The fall session was short, just six weeks (minus one when we all suddenly realized Halloween fell on a Friday). We’ve expanded to three age groups now: littles, middles, and bigs. In the older group, we’ve been looking at some poetic forms and doing close readings. Today we’re going off on a different tack and hunting up poems about food. I challenged the kids to write their own poems about food or Thanksgiving, and that’ll be the best part, seeing what they’ve come up with. 🙂

Last week in my littles group, the funniest thing happened. We were looking at animal poems, and I had put out a stack of children’s poetry books for the kids to rummage through. They would find a poem and either read it aloud or have me read it. Usually they wanted me to do the reading. We ended with the selection of one small girl from a lovely collection of nature poems. She had picked a spread that featured the medieval song “Sumer Is Icumen In” with a contemporary translation on the recto. “You read it,” she urged, sliding the book across the floor toward me. I dove in and was well underway when I remembered that one line in the middle—the one that brought my college Medieval Lit class to fits of giggles. The modern translation hewed pretty close to the original.

“Bullock starteth, buck farteth.”

This is a group of six-to-eight-year-olds. You can imagine the hilarity. That’s one poem they’ll never forget. 🙂

I really think what I love most about that poem, more even than its exuberance and exultation over the return of lovely weather, is its window on human nature. Seven hundred years later: we still enjoy a good fart joke.

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6 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Karen Edmisten says:

    Ha! Love it.

  2. Hanni says:

    Do you have a list of you favorite Advent and Christmas books? You mention a sidebar in one of you posts but would love to know what Christmas books your family reads. Please do share!

  3. Becky Shillington says:

    Your group sounds like so much fun, Melissa! You are right–some jokes really stand the test of time. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  4. tanita says:

    I can imagine them laughing until they fell over.

  5. sarah says:

    Funnily enough, just a couple of days ago I learned that the first joke we know to be recorded was one from Sumeria about “a wife farting in her husband’s embrace.”

    I must say, I am capable of swearing like a pirate, but fart is one word which I don’t even like to type. I feel quite mortified that I have mentioned it – twice! – in this comment.

  6. Elizabeth H. says:

    I’m there with the 6-year-olds. My husband has just downloaded a fart app to enormous hilarity from the offspring. Call us Anglo-Saxon.