8. Piper, Pipe that Song Again

Piper Pipe that Song AgainI’ve never really been into poetry. I guess I was always too impatient lazy and wanted to be able to understand the meaning without having to work too hard. One exception was a book of poems that I received in the mail through the Weekly Reader Book Club called Piper, Pipe that Song Again: Poems for Boys and Girls selected by Nancy Larrick. This book was packed full of poems that I understood. And liked!

I’m pretty sure I’ve written elsewhere on the Internet how I used to go out to the garage (which rarely had cars in it), and sing the poems from this book at the top of my lungs. I’m sure that was a sight and sound to behold.

One of the poems I remember reading aloud [loudly] in the empty garage was The Secret Song by Margaret Wise Brown. I sang it in my best approximation of baritone:

Who saw the petals
Drop from the rose?
I, said the spider,
But nobody knows.

Who saw the sunset
Flash on the bird?
I, said the fish,
But nobody heard.

Who saw the fog
Come over the sea?
I, said the pigeon,
Only me.

Who saw the first
Green light of the sun?
I, said the night owl,
The only one.

Who saw the moss
Creep over the stone?
I said the grey fox,
All alone.

To prove that my reciting poetry, alone in the garage, paid off, I’m still a little chuffed that one of my teachers complimented me on my reading of The Pasture by Robert Frost. She was impressed that I knew to stop at the punctuation, and not at the end of each line.

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may);
I shan’t be gone long. — You come too.

I’m going out to fetch the little calf
That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I shan’t be gone long. — You come too.

While this book didn’t make me a lover of poetry, it did help me appreciate poetry more than if I hadn’t read it. I’m not saying all, or ever most of the poems in this book are great works of art — some are downright corny — , but they certainly meant something to me.

April 23, 2010. Tags: , , . 1965, poetry, weekly reader book club.


  1. 215/365 One more book | Cedar Waxwing's 365 replied:

    […] mentioned the Weekly Reader books last month but didn’t mention Piper Pipe that Song Again because I forgot it was a Weekly Reader […]

  2. Mali replied:

    I adore the idea of a young CW singing the words of these poems in the garage. You must have been exhilarated by the words, the imagery.

    I’m sorry I missed this when you first posted it.

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