'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Singing Songs

I love music.  And, from an early age I have loved to sing.  My houses have always resounded with music.  Long before I was thought of, Mum and Dad sang in the church choir.  In fact, that was where they met and fell in love - Dad sending sign-messages to Mum from the men's choir stalls across to the women's choir stalls in St Mathews -  "I-l-o-v-e-y-o-u".
Although they were very careful with money, I think I can just remember when my parents bought a turntable and we had a large collection of LPs and children's story records which we played often, and over and over again.  In our first house, a cosy little white stucco affair just outside the village boundary,  and then later in the little cottage in Lindsay Street, I remember listening to the following:

The Flower Drum Song
Porgy and Bess
The Pirates of Penzance
The Sound of Music
Olivet to Calvary
Fiddler of the Roof
Peter Sellers
West Side Story
The King and I
Harry Secombe
Victor Borge's 'Caught in the Act'
Danny Kaye's 'Hans Christian Andersen' 
My Fair Lady
Under Milkwood
Engelbert Humperdinck
Harry Belafonte
Ivan Rebroff
Peter, Paul and Mary
Cliff Richard's 'Summer Holiday'
The Red Army Ensemble
Holst's 'The Planet Suite'
Grofé's 'The Grand Canyon Suite'
The Four Seasons
The Tucson Arizona Boys' Choir
Grieg's 'Peer Gynt'
and my three favourites:  Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf', Handel's 'Messiah' and 'Carmen Jones'.

I wrote a poem about singing the other day.  In magnets (very limited words), on my fridge.

In case you can't read it, here it is:

On praise by us
Make your splendid sonata.
Liquid tune,
Eddy to whirlpool cascade,
Swirling waterfall of choir and fever of harp.
The tumbling lyrical tempest!
That voice shall inspire Neptune
Under the turquoise green ocean.


  1. Those fridge magnet poems are always fascinating because the selection process is very different from the one that would normally happen in one's head.

  2. Yes YP! I would never write such a poem the 'normal' way. And somehow the limited choice feels a bit like bending yourself into the shape of a paperclip. Or it's like beginning a painting blindfold and then opening your eyes and adapting the result. I'm not sure if it's any Good. But it is different.

  3. I remember some on that list. My parents did not really have a large colelction of records though. But they listened a lot to the radio.

    The Sound of Music and Holst's Planets Suite were among my own first LP records.

  4. Elizabeth15.8.10

    If you look at the work of altered book artists, Katherine, they often create poems in a very similar way, picking out the text from the original book and piecing it together in new ways to fit the altered subject. Although the words available to them are restricted, the results are often liberatingly good. Your poem is beautiful. x

  5. Music. I cannot imagine life without music. It was Sibelius's piano music this morning. Like you I was brought up with it. One of the things I was going to do in New Zealand was get singing lessons and see if I could sing again. Like many things I was going to do it got pushed out by the myriad of new things (mainly croquet!) which grabbed me instead.

    I cannot believe it! WV= ginsingn

  6. Your list brought back many memories and made me think of my own list.

    WV = lagging

  7. DawnT - My parent's radio was on mostly for a medical sitcom in the morning ('Doctor Paul') which my Mum loved, and the children's request session on Sunday evenings. But I used to listen to my crystal radio every night!

    Elizabeth - Thank you for your kind remark. And I had never heard of 'altered books'! So I googled those words and have had a very interesting 30 minutes. The possibilities are almost endless, aren't they!

    GB - Mmm. Music. I should have added that I said I sing. But I'm not very good. I just love to sing. No-one, for example has every asked me for an encore.

    Robert - Yes, we had a coincidence, what with your own recent exciting music-news!