Whether he’s happy or sad Freddy is ever the poet, and his verse—both heavy and light—has created an international fuss among the less gifted pigs and poets. And if Freddy’s poetry seems a bit hammy in spots, well . . .
About the Author
Kurt Wiese (1887-1974) illustrated over 300 children’s books and wrote and illustrated another 20 books. He received two Newbury Awards and two Caldecott Honor Book Awards.
Walter R. Brooks (1886-1958) is the beloved author of 26 books about Freddy the Pig. He edited for magazines, including The New Yorker. In addition to the Freddy books, Brooks created the character Mr. Ed the Talking Horse.
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The Collected Poems of Freddy the Pig
By Walter R. Brooks, Kurt Wiese
The Overlook PressCopyright © 1953 Walter R. Brooks
All rights reserved.
Spring and Other Things
ODE TO SPRING
O spring, O spring,
You wonderful thing!
O spring, O spring, O spring!
O spring, O spring,
When the birdies sing
I feel like a king,
Hooray for the spring! What a glorious feeling!
All the little lambs on the hillsides squealing!
Tighten up your braces! Tuck in your shirt!
All the little green things growing in the dirt!
BUDS AND PEEPERS
Spring is in the air;
Birds are flying north;
And though trees are bare,
Now they're putting forth
Leaves. The fields are green.
Sun is getting higher.
Monday Mr. Bean
Put out the furnace fire.
Birds are building nests;
In the swamp are peepers;
Men discard their vests;
Eggs are getting cheaper.
ON A WALK IN THE RAIN
When I set out upon this tour,
I thought the skies would be much bluer.
When I set out upon this tramp,
How could I know 'twould be so damp?
When I set out on this excursion,
I did not think it meant submersion.
When I set out upon this trip
I should have started in a ship.
ODE TO THE NORTH POLE
O Pole, O Pole, O glorious Pole!
To you I sing this song,
Where bedtime comes but once a year,
Since the nights are six months long.
Yes, the nights are six months long, my dears,
And the days are the same, you see,
So breakfast and supper each last a week,
And dinner sometimes three.
Then there's tea and lunch, and we sometimes munch
Occasional snacks between—
Such mountains of candies and cakes and pies
Have never before been seen.
Let the wild winds howl about the Pole,
Let the snowflakes swirl and swoop;
We're snug and warm and safe from harm
And they're bringing in the soup.
We'll sit at the table as long as we're able,
We'll rise and stretch, and then,
Since there's nothing to do but gobble and chew,
We'll sit right down again.
We'll tuck our napkins under our chins
To keep our waistcoats neat,
And then we'll eat and eat and eat
And eat and eat and eat
ODE TO NOTHING
Let others sing of fall and spring,
Of love and dove, of eyes and sighs;
My song is not of anything;
It tells no whats, it gives no whys.
And is it sad? Or is it gay?
I do not know. I cannot say.
It seeks no meaning to convey,
It has no subject, point or plot.
It must mean something, you will say—
But I assure you it does not.
No scowls across my features creep,
No tears bedew my handkerchief;
I do not try to make you weep,
To moan with anguish, sob with grief.
Contrariwise, no smiles contort
My face; I wish to give no cause
For anyone to roar and snort
With uncontrollable guffaws.
And if you ask me: is this so?
I cannot say. I do not know.
NO. 1: THE EYES
The eyes are brown or black or blue
Or grey, and of them there are two.
They are arranged beside the nose,
One to each side, which, I suppose
Was done because no other place
Was vacant in the human face.
How helpfully eyes scan the dish
And watch for bones when eating fish,
Or with a side glance, indirect, eyes
Warn us of grease spots on our neckties.
Then, eyes are used to show our feelings,
In place of yells and sobs and squealings.
For instance, to express surprise,
You raise the lids and pop the eyes;
In showing grief, the lids are dropped
And tears (if any) gently sopped
Up with a handkerchief—a white one
(And preferably clean) 's the right one.
The eyes are cleverly equipped
With little lids, which can be flipped
Up in the morning, down at night,
To let in or shut out the light.
We could fill pages with our cries
Of admiration for the eyes;
They're indispensable (see above).
True, eyebrows are well spoken of;
The ears are hard to do without;
The nose is useful too, no doubt;
But eyes! Do not dispense with those!
Abandon ears; give up your nose;
But we most earnestly advise:
Hang on most firmly to your eyes.
NO. 2: THE EARS
The ears are two in number, and
Beside the head, on either hand,—
One to the left, one to the right—
They are attached extremely tight.
Their purpose is twofold, to wit:
To give the hat a place to sit,
So that it will not lose its place
And, slipping down, engulf the face.
Also to ventilate the brain,
When heated by great mental strain,
By standing at right angles out
To catch whatever wind's about,
Or when the summer breeze is napping,
To substitute by gently flapping.
Do not, therefore, attempt to pull
The ears from off the parent skull.
Though ears look odd and out of place,
And add so little to the face,
Though as adornment they're lamentable,
Without them you'd be unpresentable;
And he who rashly grabs the shears
Will find too late, with bitter tears,
That there's no substitute for ears.
NO. 3: THE NOSE
The nose, in general, finds its place
About the center of the face,
Continuing the forehead south
Between the eyes, down towards the mouth,
Above which, usually it
Stops short, in order not to hit
The chin, which in its normal place
Below the mouth, completes the face.
(Though here of ears we make no mention,
They are well worthy of attention.)
And thus we see, by its position,
The nose has an important mission;
For, gathered round it in a troop,
The other features thus can group
Themselves upon it, each in place
Symmetrically to form a face.
Without a nose to rally round
The other features would be bound
To wander off in all directions
And with the face lose all connections.
Without a nose, I rather guess
Your face would be an awful mess.
A nose, too, if not badly bent
Can be a handsome ornament
Which one can wear with joy and pride,
So do not lay your nose aside.
Preserve your nose at any cost;
You can't replace it if it's lost.
And wear it in its normal place,
Right in the middle of your face.
NO. 4: THE MOUTH
The mouth is located below
The nose, and is constructed so
That when it grins, it stretches wide
To touch the ears on either side.
This elasticity is handy
In eating pie, or hunks of candy.
Though hunks that stretch the mouth too tight
(By some considered impolite)
Require much earnest concentration,
And interfere with conversation.
In fact, there are extremely few
Who can, with charm, both talk and chew.
It's best to keep the two things separate;
When dinner's served, just salt and pepper it,
And for your conversation wait
Until there's nothing on your plate.
NO. 5: THE CHIN
Proceeding south upon the face
The forehead first takes up some space,
Beneath which you will find the eyebrows
And then the eyes (called "orbs" by highbrows).
Along the nose continue south
And presently you reach the mouth
And see, beyond, on the horizon,
The chin's bold promontory risin'.
Consider, then, the chin. Although it's
Never been praised by famous poets,
Yet do not sneer at it, nor scoff,
And never, never chop it off,
For if removed, the face is shortened,
The mouth no longer looks important
But rests directly on the collar—
Which makes the public laugh and holler.
For with no chin you'd be no vision
Of beauty. You'd invite derision.
You'd look half-witted; you'd look funny;
No one would ever lend you money;
And dentists, putting in a filling,
Would have no place to lean when drilling.
The chin is used in mastication;
Thrust out, it shows determination;
And other uses I could mention—
But I'm afraid that your attention
Is wandering. Confidentially,
This verse is even boring me.
As for the chin, I must admit
I'm getting good and sick of it.
NO. 6: THE WHISKERS
The whiskers on some men are quite
The most important things in sight.
On Mr. Bean or General Grant.
Among the foliage you can't
Tell ears from eyes or mouth from nose;
The beard among the features grows
Luxuriant, it overflows
The chin, cascading down the chest,
Conceals the collar, tie and vest.
(Were I with whiskers so bedecked, I
'd never, never wear a necktie.)
But there are dangers to be feared,
For of one aged man I've heerd
Who had a most enormous beard
And chipmunks, mice and other creatures,
Who ventured in among his features
Got lost among those bushy cheeks
And wandered there for weeks and weeks.
Yes, some, they say, went in and then
Vanished, were never seen again.
Such stories, though, can hardly be
It's possible, of course, they're true;
For one bewhiskered gent I knew,
A traveling man from Kalamazoo,
Who used his beard to keep things in—
His pipe, tobacco, and a tin
Or two of Portuguese sardines,
Boxes of crackers, cans of beans,
And several current magazines.
When traveling on local trains,
In steamships or in aeroplanes,
His simple wants he kept supplied
With what he had concealed inside
That whiskered shade—as gum, or smokes,
Light lunches or a book of jokes.
Thus were his lonely journeys cheered—
But that's enough about the beard.
NO. 7: THE HAIR
The hair is an adornment
Which grows upon the head;
It's black or yellow, brown or grey,
But never blue or green or puce;
Such colors would look like the deuce.
That's just one pig's opinion—
Some have a preference
For hair that's not so usual,
For colors more intense.
They go for violet or carmine,
And think that pink is simply charmin'.
So if you're really anxious
To change to green or red,
Just tell your barber what you want
And when he soaps your head,
The functionary who shampoos you
Will tint your hair light blue or fuchsia.
Aside from being pretty
The hair can be of help
If someone bangs you on the head
So hard it makes you yelp!
If you have hair that's thick and tangled
You're not so likely to get mangled.
Without hair you'd look funny,
And rather like a squash,
And every morning you would have
A lot more face to wash.
Your face would go up past your forehead,
And you'll agree that would look horrid.
Grass only grows in summer,
Hair grows the whole year through;
It must be mowed quite frequently,
And raked twice daily, too.
Your hair (called "locks," and sometimes "tresses")
If never combed, an awful mess is.
Yet some folks never cut it—
Prefer to let it grow.
This has advantages of course,
And even though it's slow,
In time they get enough to fill a
Small mattress, or to stuff a pillow.
THE OPEN ROAD
Oh, the sailor may sing of his tall, swift ships,
Of sailing the deep blue sea,
But the long, white road where adventures wait
Is the better life for me.
On the open road, when the sun goes down,
Your home is wherever you are.
The sky is your roof and the earth is your bed
And you hang your hat on a star.
You wash your face in the clear, cold dew,
And you say good-night to the moon,
And the wind in the tree-tops sings you to sleep
With a drowsy boughs-y tune.
Then it's hey! for the joy of a roving life,
From Florida up to Nome,
For since I've no home in any one spot,
Wherever I am is home.
Then it's out of the gate and down the road
Without stopping to say good-bye,
For adventure waits over every hill,
Where the road runs up to the sky.
We're off to play with the wind and the stars,
And we sing as we march away:
O, it's all very well to love your work,
But you've got to have some play.
Oh, the winding road is long, is long,
But never too long for me.
And we'll cheer each mile with a song, a song,
A song as we ramble along, along,
So fearless and gay and free.
Oh, it's over the hill and down the road
And we'll borrow the moon for a light,
And wherever we go, one thing we know:
The road will lead us right.
If you start from home by any road,
And follow each dip and bend,
What fortune you find, whether cold or kind,
You find home again at the end.
Oh, the roads run east, and the roads run west,
And it's lots of fun to roam
When you know that whichever road you take—
That road will lead you home.
THE HOMESICK PIG
Oh, a life of adventure is gay and free,
And danger has its charm;
And no pig of spirit will bound his life
By the fence on his master's farm.
Yet there's no true pig but heaves a sigh
At the pleasant thought of the old home sty.
But one tires at last of wandering,
And the road grows steep and long,
A treadmill round, where no peace is found,
If one follows it overlong.
And however they wander, both pigs and men
Are always glad to get home again.
Oh, the winding road to Florida
Is a dusty road, and long,
But we animals gay have cheered the way
With many a merry song.
Our hearts were bold—but our homes were cold,
And that is why we've come
To Florida, to Florida,
From our far-off northern home.
In Florida, in Florida,
Where the orange-blossom blows,
Where the alligator sings so sweet,
And the sweet-potato grows;
Oh, that is the place where I would be,
And that is where I am—
In Florida, in Florida,
As happy as a clam.
THE OPEN ROAD AGAIN
We're out on the winding road again,
The road where we belong;
By hill and valley, by meadow and stream,
On the road that's never too long.
Never too long is the winding road,
Though it climbs the steepest hill,
Though dark the night, and heavy the load,
When the rain drives hard and chill.
For the stormiest weather will always mend;
There's a top to the highest hill;
But the winding road has never an end,
Whether for good or ill.
And we travel the road for the love of the road,
For love of the open sky,
For love of the smell of fields fresh mowed,
As we go tramping by.
For love of the little wandering breeze,
And the thunder's deep bass song,
Which rattles the hills and shakes the trees
Like the roar of a giant's gong.
For love of the sun, and love of the moon
And love of the lonely stars;
And the treetoads' trill, and the blackbirds' tune,
And the smell of Bill Wonks' cigars.
And there, where the road curves out of sight,
Or surely, beyond that hill,
Adventure lies, and perhaps a fight,
And perhaps a dragon to kill.
Or perhaps it's a brand new friend we'll make,
Or a haunted house to visit,
Or a party with peach ice cream and cake,
Or something else exquisite.
So now for us all, for pigs and men,
For lions and tigers and bears,
The open road lies open again,
And we toss aside our cares.
And we sing and holler and shout Hurray!
No matter what the weather
For we'll not be back for many a day
While we're out on the road together.
Excerpted from The Collected Poems of Freddy the Pig by Walter R. Brooks, Kurt Wiese. Copyright © 1953 Walter R. Brooks. Excerpted by permission of The Overlook Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsSpring and Other Things,
Ode to Spring,
Buds and Peepers,
On a Walk in the Rain,
Ode to the North Pole,
Ode to Nothing,
No. 1: The Eyes,
No. 2: The Ears,
No. 3: The Nose,
No. 4: The Mouth,
No. 5: The Chin,
No. 6: The Whiskers,
No. 7: The Hair,
The Open Road,
The Homesick Pig,
The Open Road Again,
Circus Marching Song,
The Animals' Marching Song,
Florida Weather Note,
Admire the Pig,
P, as in Pig,
The Happiness of Pigs,
The Courageous Pig,
Advantages of Being a Pig,
Ode to the Pig: His Tail,
Ode to the Pig: His Legs,
Ranch and Range,
Home on the Farm,
From the Ballad of Two-Gun Freddy,
Warning to Rustlers,
Serenade with Yodels,
Chant of the Horrible Ten,
Pursuit of Bannister by Horribles,
Chant of the Horrible Twenty,
Salute to the Fearless Skunk,
Chant of the Horrible Thirty,
Not about Pigs,
Ants, Although Admirable, Are Awfully Aggravating,
Bees, Bothered by Bold Bears, Behave Badly,
Tribute to the Eagle,
Song of the Homesick Spider,
Diet of Robins,
Valentine for Jerry,
I Feel Awful,
The Days of My Youth,
Justice for the Pig,
A Waggable Tail,
Home Is Where the Heart Is,
The Wanderer Pig,
By Other Animals,
Rats on Freddy,
Thoughts on Talkers,
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