Longfellow?

My mind, like most minds I suspect, works in awkward ways. I’ll be walking between rooms, perhaps toting a load of laundry to the wash room, when a phrase or a snippet from a poem will pop into my head. I might forget I have Studly’s dirty socks clutched in my arms for a second or two as I try to recall the entire verse or the poet who penned it. That exact scenario played out this morning.

There I was, minding my own business with assorted laundry items in hand, when the words There was a little girl, trickled through my consciousness. Cute nursery rhyme, I thought followed closely by, I’d never have used forehead to rhyme with horrid. Poetic license. Hmm.

My next thought had to do with the pungency of Studly’s socks. I continued on my way and started the washing machine. Maybe I remembered to add detergent and maybe I didn’t—my mind was on that little girl. I googled the first line of the poem and this came up:

There was a little girl

BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow authored this little poem? C’mon man. The same guy who gave us the epic poems The Song of Hiawatha and Paul Revere’s Ride also wrote a six line poem about a little girl whose forehead rhymed with horrid? Maybe I knew that at one time, but as I’ve already noted, my mind is easily distracted.

Anyway, well done, old chap. I never mastered memorizing Hiawatha, but with a little more work I’m sure I’ll have There Was a Little Girl memorized within the week. Maybe.

Peace, people!

Author: nananoyz

I'm a semi-retired crazy person with one husband and two cats.

29 thoughts on “Longfellow?”

  1. I had a record when I was little that was full of nursery rhymes, poems and songs, all geared towards kids. This one was on it. The second I read “there was a little girl” I knew what you were talking about. I had no clue at all that it was Longfellow. And, DANG! It has been forever since I thought about that record. I spent hours and hours sitting and listening to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having grown up in mid-Atlantic country I always thought the rhyming in the poem was strange too. Until I recalled that really early in my life my grandmother from Boston and my mother, did pronounce forehead like “forrid”, at least for awhile. Mom’s pronunciation of “Aunt” as “ont” also changed to “ant”. So I think it’s possible that the word in New England was actually pronounced that way in Longfellow’s time although it makes much more sense to say “fore-head”. Language and the way it changes and varies fascinates me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought it was a slant rhyme too until one day when the poem popped back into my head (somewhat as it did with you) along with the long lost memory of my elders’ early pronunciations. In school in MD, I learned the other ways and Mom eventually changed. I’ve heard Aunt pronounced Ain’t, too, as I’ve lived in the southeast for 50+ years. I used some expressive southeastern language in my book, it was an every day record of actual living; and it’s the only thing the book ever got a negative response about, lol. But in fact a book on language I read said that before the days of standardized speech taught in schools, and later, radios, language changed every 17 miles. To me it’s interesting and fun to note the differences.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. In my part of The South, we drop consonants, especially
    G and T. Important becomes “impor-ent” and Atlanta becomes “Atlan-a” and swinging becomes “swingn.” So if you drop the H like a Southern Virginian, forehead becomes “for-ead”, rhyming with horrid. See?

    Liked by 1 person

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