Treasure Island

Robert Graves

(1895 - 1985 / London / England)

A Ballad Of Nursery Rhyme


Strawberries that in gardens grow
Are plump and juicy fine,
But sweeter far as wise men know
Spring from the woodland vine.

No need for bowl or silver spoon,
Sugar or spice or cream,
Has the wild berry plucked in June
Beside the trickling stream.

One such to melt at the tongue's root,
Confounding taste with scent,
Beats a full peck of garden fruit:
Which points my argument.

May sudden justice overtake
And snap the froward pen,
That old and palsied poets shake
Against the minds of men;

Blasphemers trusting to hold caught
In far-flung webs of ink
The utmost ends of human thought,
Till nothing's left to think.

But may the gift of heavenly peace
And glory for all time
Keep the boy Tom who tending geese
First made the nursery rhyme.

By the brookside one August day,
Using the sun for clock,
Tom whiled the languid hours away
Beside his scattering flock,

Carving with a sharp pointed stone
On a broad slab of slate
The famous lives of Jumping Joan,
Dan Fox and Greedy Kate;

Rhyming of wolves and bears and birds,
Spain, Scotland, Babylon,
That sister Kate might learn the words
To tell to Toddling John.

But Kate, who could not stay content
To learn her lesson pat,
New beauty to the rough lines lent
By changing this or that;

And she herself set fresh things down
In corners of her slate,
Of lambs and lanes and London Town.
God's blessing fall on Kate!

The baby loved the simple sound,
With jolly glee he shook,
And soon the lines grew smooth and round
Like pebbles in Tom's brook,

From mouth to mouth told and retold
By children sprawled at ease
Before the fire in winter's cold,
In June beneath tall trees;

Till though long lost are stone and slate,
Though the brook no more runs,
And dead long time are Tom, John, Kate,
Their sons and their sons' sons;

Yet, as when Time with stealthy tread
Lays the rich garden waste,
The woodland berry ripe and red
Fails not in scent or taste,

So these same rhymes shall still be told
To children yet unborn,
While false philosophy growing old
Fades and is killed by scorn.

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Ballad Of Nursery Rhyme by Robert Graves )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Creators, Midnights Voice
  2. Without You..! ! !, Asma Riaz Khan
  3. I'm not fine without you, Pijush Biswas
  4. P08222014, Andy Caldwell
  5. Simple Thought, Tim Holmes Jr
  6. A Glowing Angel, Rohit Sapra
  7. Fire Balls, Alem Hailu Gabre Kristos
  8. AL-KATTAB (A PLACE USED TO BE AN ALTERNA.., MOHAMMAD SKATI
  9. I lack true knowledge, gajanan mishra
  10. THE INEVITABLE DEATH, AMADU KAMARA

Poem of the Day

poet Henry Lawson


The old year went, and the new returned, in the withering weeks of drought,
The cheque was spent that the shearer earned,
and the sheds were all cut out;
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]