Throughout the school year, Sophia and Olivia are learning about six different poets and six different poems that each poet wrote.
For the first six weeks of homeschooling, we focused on Robert Louis Stevenson. We are now learning about Lewis Carroll (who wrote Alice in Wonderland as well as a wide range of other stories, poems, and other literary pieces), and are focusing on six poems that he wrote.
Below are the six poems that I chose for the girls to listen to:
Those Horrid Hurdy-Gurdies!
A Monody, By a Victim
"My mother bids me bind my hair,"
And not go about such a figure;
It's a bother, of course, but what do I care?
I shall do as I please when I'm bigger.
"My lodging is on the cold, cold ground,"
As the first-floor and attic were taken.
I tried the garret but once, and found
That my wish for a change was mistaken.
"Ever of thee!" yes, "Ever of thee!"
They chatter more and more,
Till I groan aloud, "Oh! let me be!
I have heard it all before!"
"Please remember the organ, sir,"
What? hasn't he left me yet?
I promise, good man; for its tedious burr
I never can forget.
Olivia's reaction: "That doesn't make sense." Sophia's reaction: "It's interesting. You can understand parts, but other ones I think he added for fun."
(March 15, 1862)
I painted her a gushing thing,
With years perhaps a score;
I little thought to find they were
At least a dozen more;
My fancy gave her eyes of blue,
A curly auburn head:
I came to find the blue a green,
The auburn turned to red.
She boxed my ears this morning,
They tingled very much;
I own that I could wish her
A somewhat lighter touch;
And if you were to ask me how
Her charms might be improved,
I would not have them added to,
But just a few removed!
She has the bear's ethereal grace,
The bland hyena's laugh,
The footstep of the elephant,
The neck of the giraffe;
I love her still, believe me,
Though my heart its passion hides;
"She's all my fancy painted her,"
But oh! how much besides!
"It's funny! He loves her even though she footsteps of an elephant, the neck of giraffe, and a very weird laugh," said Olivia. Sophia thought, "He has a strange love."
Brother and Sister
"SISTER, sister, go to bed!
Go and rest your weary head."
Thus the prudent brother said.
"Do you want a battered hide,
Or scratches to your face applied?"
Thus his sister calm replied.
"Sister, do not raise my wrath.
I'd make you into mutton broth
As easily as kill a moth"
The sister raised her beaming eye
And looked on him indignantly
And sternly answered, "Only try!"
Off to the cook he quickly ran.
"Dear Cook, please lend a frying-pan
To me as quickly as you can."
And wherefore should I lend it you?"
"The reason, Cook, is plain to view.
I wish to make an Irish stew."
"What meat is in that stew to go?"
"My sister'll be the contents!"
"You'll lend the pan to me, Cook?"
Moral: Never stew your sister.
Olivia's immediate response: "Do that one again! I like that one!" "Its weird because he would never do that," was Sophia's reaction.
From Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!
Sophia said, "I like that one. I liked the description of the crocodile." Olivia thought, "It was unusual because the crocodile's tail was shiny."
A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky
(An acrostic poem: the first letters of each line spell the name of Alice Pleasance Liddell.)
A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July -
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear -
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream -
Lingering in the golden dream -
Life, what is it but a dream?
"I liked it because of the first letters. I've seen that in a few books before," Sophia said. Olivia said, "I didn't understand or catch that. These poems are strange."
(To Mary, Ina, and Harriet or "Hartie" Watson.)
When .a.y and I.a told .a..ie they'd seen a
Small ..ea.u.e with .i..., dressed in crimson and blue,
.a..ie cried "'Twas a .ai.y! Why, I.a and .a.y,
I should have been happy if I had been you!"
Said .a.y "You wouldn't." Said I.a "You shouldn't-
Since you can't be us, and we couldn't be you.
You are one, my dear .a..ie, but we are a .a..y,
And a.i...e.i. tells us that one isn't two."
(The missing words would seem to be: Mary, Ina, Hartie, creature, wings, Hartie, fairy, Ina, Mary, Mary, Ina, Hartie, party, arithmetic.)
"I liked it. That was my favorite one," said Sophia. "I disliked it. I liked the brother and sister poem better," said Olivia.