Any poems inside? Well, yes - a couple.
This one made me laugh, so perhaps it can tide us over until the SNL season premiere Saturday night.
by John W. Ellis
The golden sunlight floods the room,
The flies wheel to and fro,
And throught he open window comes
A hum of life below.
Three boys, before a battered desk,
Survey with hopeless gaze
a page of algebra bestrewn
With x’s, b’s and a’s.
Before a blackboard scribbled o’er,
In quite a careless way,
with scraps of knowledge gathered from
The labors of the day,
The master sits with pencil blue,
And marks without a blench
The erring sum, the misspelt word,
The French that is not French.
All silent sit the prisoned ones,
Save when a far-off shout
Brings visions to their restless minds
Of merry scenes without.
Then inky hands grasp tumbled hair,
And, like a distant sea,
A murmuring rises through the room
Of mystic formulae.
And so, throughout a tedious hour,
The loud clock ticks apace,
Each youth intent upon his book
With studious, frowning face,
remembering on yester eve
How simple seemed each rule,
When some inviting game obscured
The coming morrow’s school.
And now at length the captives rise,
Each gazing on his book,
And sidle to their jailer’s seat
Snatching one furtive look.
They stumble through the dreaded task,
Then cast their books aside,
And speed through the deserted school
To the glad world outside.
And now the creeping hour is past,
The silent striving done.
Rebellious z and stubborn y
Fly with the sinking sun;
And to the east with satchels full,
Three scholars march with glee,
While westward, with a sober step,
Departs the dominie.
I couldn’t find any information about this poem online. The only historical John W. Ellis I came across was the pro-slavery governor of North Carolina who lived from 1820-1861. Did he write humorous poetry that an editor would pluck up a few decades later? Hmmm. Somehow that doesn’t seem plausible, but I’m not sure.
An Edward Sylvester Ellis (1840 –1916) was an American author who did write for young readers and had many different pen names! He was also a teacher, school administrator and journalist, according to Wikipedia.
Well, if anyone knows, I’m happy to be enlightened.
I did look up a couple of words in this poem – “blench” means to shrink or flinch; a “dominie” is a schoolmaster.
Perhaps the helplessness before algebra got me, or the line that tickled me the most, “The French that is not French.” (Le français qui n'est pas français?) Ha!
Merci for visiting, and be sure to sashay over to Writing the World for Kids, where lovely Laura has this week’s Roundup. Read More