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A Favorite Children's Poem


By Ogden Nash

©Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt

(The delightful illustrations are from Two Hundred Best Poems for Boys and Girls, compiled by Marjorie Barrows, Whitman Publishing Company, 1938. As was not uncommon for those days, no credit is given the artist who drew them.)

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio, daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
And Blink said Week!, which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried, Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.

But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pirate.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

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Nov. 10th, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)
I am going to see if I can find it at the library. My Frand-daughter is 5 she would love to hear it.
Nov. 10th, 2010 05:03 am (UTC)
It may be tough to find. The paper in this particular edition was not especially time-friendly. My mother had a copy that I loved as a child, and her copy has now largely crumbled to dust. I found one online, bought it, and as soon as I had it in my hands the cover fell off. A little tape repaired it, but this copy also is extremely fragile.

Another one from the same volume is here - this one had me in stitches every time I read it.

If you do find a copy, let me know - I'd be interested to see if any are out there.
Nov. 10th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
no luck shucks
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
That's one poem I didn't hear as a wee kidling! Would you mind if I saved that in a file- Just in case?
Nov. 10th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
Copyright belongs to the Nash family... but it's out there all over the net.
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
I didn't recognize the poem until I got to the pirate and associated poetic license. It is nicely written.

"Realio, trulio" sounds like the language of CuteOverload!


The Old Wolf

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