Thursday, February 5, 2009

School Days


In P4 my teacher was called Miss Howell. It was a stern name for a stern teacher with a stern appearance and manner.

But every morning around 10.15am when we sat on the mat to listen to a selection of A.A.Milne poems her warmth penetrated through her tough outer shell as she joined with us in the enjoyment of poetry.

One of the class favourites was:

The Four Friends

Ernest was an elephant, a great big fellow,
Leonard was a lion with a six foot tail,
George was a goat, and his beard was yellow,
And James was a very small snail.

Leonard had a stall, and a great big strong one,
Earnest had a manger, and its walls were thick,
George found a pen, but I think it was the wrong one,
And James sat down on a brick

Earnest started trumpeting, and cracked his manger,
Leonard started roaring, and shivered his stall,
James gave a huffle of a snail in danger
And nobody heard him at all.

Earnest started trumpeting and raised such a rumpus,
Leonard started roaring and trying to kick,
James went on a journey with the goats new compass
And he reached the end of his brick.

Ernest was an elephant and very well intentioned,
Leonard was a lion with a brave new tail,
George was a goat, as I think I have mentioned,
but James was only a snail.

My favourite was 'Forgiven'.


I found a little beetle; so that Beetle was his name,
And I called him Alexander and he answered just the same.
I put him in a match-box, and I kept him all the day ...
And Nanny let my beetle out -
Yes, Nanny let my beetle out -
She went and let my beetle out -
And Beetle ran away.

She said she didn't mean it, and I never said she did,
She said she wanted matches and she just took off the lid,
She said that she was sorry, but it's difficult to catch
An excited sort of beetle you've mistaken for a match.

She said that she was sorry, and I really mustn't mind,
As there's lots and lots of beetles which she's certain we could find,
If we looked about the garden for the holes where beetles hid -
And we'd get another match-box and write BEETLE on the lid.

We went to all the places which a beetle might be near,
And we made the sort of noises which a beetle likes to hear,
And I saw a kind of something, and I gave a sort of shout:
"A beetle-house and Alexander Beetle coming out!"

It was Alexander Beetle I'm as certain as can be,
And he had a sort of look as if he thought it must be Me,
And he had a sort of look as if he thought he ought to say:
"I'm very very sorry that I tried to run away."

And Nanny's very sorry too for you-know-what-she-did,
And she's writing ALEXANDER very blackly on the lid,
So Nan and Me are friends, because it's difficult to catch
An excited Alexander you've mistaken for a match.

Did you have a favourite A.A. Milne poem?



  1. Sure. I'm a kindergarten teacher.

    I'm apt to recite this poem whenever one of my students has a birthday:

    The End

    When I was One,
    I had just begun.

    When I was Two,
    I was nearly new.

    When I was Three,
    I was hardly Me.

    When I was Four,
    I was not much more.

    When I was Five,
    I was just alive.

    But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever.
    So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

    A.A. Milne

    (I learned this one from my mother, who loved it, too.)

  2. Dan ~ yes I have that one in my memory bank too.

  3. amazing how teachers have such a big impact in our lives

  4. Welcome Pete, profound impacts. Another teacher of mine (When I was 7) typed up a story of mine, bound it and put it on the library shelf as a surprise for the class... what reinforcement that was.


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