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Three Mother Goose Poems
by Doug Dawson

Little Boy Blue

Original Version

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn.
Where is the boy who looks after the sheep?
He's under a haystack, fast asleep.
Will you wake him? No, not I,
For if I do, he's sure to cry.

Revised Version

Little Boy Blue is a cat with a horn,
A prodigy, steeped in the blues.
Besides his pretensions to ranching and farming,
He's gigging and paying his dues.

Little Boy Blue played so loud and so funky
The shepherd on duty deferred
From tending the sheep, as he came and he listened,
And these are the sounds that he heard:

Be-bop-sha-bam! went the drums, and the trumpet
Was tootin' some razzamatazz.
The shepherd exclaimed "It's the world's first jam session -
And Little Boy Blue's playin' jazz!"

The old song "The Birth of the Blues" gives no credit
To Little Boy Blue or his horn.
Or maybe his fame as a nursery rhyme figure
Eclipsed how the blue note was born.

Hey, Diddle, Diddle

Original Version

Hey Diddle Diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Revised Version

How now, meow now,
But not a brown cow now,
A feline and fiddle to wit.
A bovine high-jumper, right out of this world
And the Taco-Bell dog gets a howl out of it.

Two figures elope in the silvery moonlight,
A dish and a spoon way out there.
But someone's not laughing -
She's missing her Wedgwood
And some of her new silverware.

I Saw a Ship a-Sailing

Original Version

I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea
And oh, but it was laden
With pretty things for thee.

There were cookies in the cabin
And apples in the hold;
And sails were made of silk
And the masts were all of gold.

The four-and-twenty sailors
That stood between the decks
Were four-and-twenty white mice,
With chains about their necks.

The captain was a duck
With a packet on his back,
And when the ship began to move
The captain said Quack! Quack!

Revised Version

Ships are funny things, you know -
Always sailing, on the go
Crews are funny people, too
Just how funny I'll tell you.

Once picked up my looking glass,
Spied a boat approaching fast;
Told my crew "I think I've seen
The Beatles' Yellow Submarine"

Sails of silk, masts of gold,
Candy in the cargo hold
A crew of mice who ran amok,
The captain singing "Disco Duck"

The Beatles I could clearly see,
The Beach Boys, singing "Sloop John B"
The Highwaymen, who were on board
Sang "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore"

Gordon Lightfoot was on deck,
Singing of some Great Lakes wreck
Sailors, with a look of panic
Sang about the ship "Titanic"

Never saw a ship like this,
Everything I saw amiss.
Couldn't be the Sloop John B
Who the devil, then, is she?

I saw Shirley Temple there
Curls and dimples everywhere
Popeye on the mizzen mast
Standing hard and holding fast

Captain Ahab's on the prow
Whaling days forgotten now
There's no engines - what's the trick?
She's being towed by Moby Dick!

The ship is dropping anchor now,
I'll read her name right off the bow.
She gently slows and comes to stop,
Why ... it's the Good Ship Lollipop!