Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On memory loss and doggerel

Clare continues to worry about her alleged loss of memory.

"Remember that little poem about a bear?" I said,

"Fuzzy-Wuzzy was a bear
Fuzzy-Wuzzy had no hair

... .

Just try and complete it."

She thought for a moment then exclaimed triumphantly:

"Fuzzy-Wuzzy was a bear
Fuzzy-Wuzzy had no hair
He was a hairless bear!"

I looked at her with a sorrowful expression and said:

"Fuzzy-Wuzzy was a bear
Fuzzy-Wuzzy had no hair
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy
Was he?"

I am a little unsettled by this childhood poem which I had always taken to be about identity and loss. Something not quite right about it in these more enlightened times. I honestly think she was on to something though. What do you think of this modern rewrite?

Hairless-Bear was a bear
Hairless-Bear had no hair
Hairless-Bear wasn't hairy
Was he?

I think that hits the mark.

Anyway, our conversation continued.

"Do you remember last night in bed, when we were talking about the cat bringing in voles, although thank God none recently, and I recited a little poem about it to you. Do you remember that?

She thought about it, screwed up her face and then a radiant smile tentatively appeared and she said hopefully "Ickle wickle little vole ..?" then stopped in puzzlement.

I held the moment then softly uttered

"Rolly-Voley pudden' and pie
"Loose in the kitchen!" hear her cry
"Catch him and save him and don't let him die"
Rolly-Voley pudden' and pie."

Oh, the forbidden delights of deep kitsch!

Finally, something for the LGBT community which was a little favourite of my sister Elaine and myself when we were both "tiny people", unaware of its darker, more modern and thoroughly adult themes.

Lickle fly upon the wall
Him's got no clothes, no clothes at all
Him's got no little shimmy-shirt
Him's got no little pleated skirt
Him's got no mummy to wash him's hair
Him don't care
Him's bald.

God, so many issues there I lose count!