Christopher Morley (1890-1957)|
NURSERY RHYMES FOR THE
(Dedicated to Don Marquis)
SCUTTLE, scuttle, little roach
How you run when I approach:
Up above the pantry shelf,
Hastening to secrete yourself.
Most adventurous of vermin,
How I wish I could determine
How you spend your hours of ease,
Perhaps reclining on the cheese.
Cook has gone, and all is dark
Then the kitchen is your park:
In the garbage heap that she leaves
Do you browse among the tea leaves?
How delightful to suspect
All the places you have trekked:
Does your long antenna whisk its
Gentle tip across the biscuits?
Do you linger, little soul,
Drowsing in our sugar bowl?
Or, abandonment most utter,
Shake a shimmy on the butter?
Do you chant your simple tunes
Swimming in the baby's prunes?
Then, when dawn comes, do you slink
Homeward to the kitchen sink?
Timid roach, why be so shy?
We are brothers, thou and I.
In the midnight, like yourself,
I explore the pantry shelf!
The above is the first of four poems about insects
found under the title Nursery Rhymes for the
Tender-Hearted. It can be found in:
Morley, Christopher. Hide and Seek. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1921.
Malone, Ted (i.e. F.A. Russell). Yankee Doodles: A Book of American Verse.
Great Neck, NY: Granger Book Co., Inc., 1978
Don Marquis (1878-1937) was a friend of Morley and a poet, author, and playwright, and columnist
for the New York Sun.
Several of his books of poetry feature the cockroach Archy and the cat Mehitabel.