Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Whittleweecumble is not a word.
But whittle is, and so is wee,
And cumble rhymes with bumble.
Whittleweecumble went to bed,
Delighted from head to toe.
The only child of Mr. and Mrs. Weecumble,
Whittle was a shiny little teapot —
Or so it was told from town to town.
In Brattlesby they heard it,
All the way down to Nornsfeather,
Where the mayor spoke
The bright-red dialect of chickens
And no one had heard of TV.
Blue rain sputtered in the dust there,
The breeze was yellow and green.
Farmers grew pickles on trees,
Librarians mined precious ice cream.
Such was life in Nornsfeather,
Each day from noon to three.
The citizens thought it was splendid,
And so did Whittle, you see,
Who loved to sit on the stove,
Gleaming and steaming with tea.
He traveled there once in a bundle,
With Mr. and Mrs. Weecumble.
They rode on the spokes
like regular folks through miles
of bacon and eggs.
They sizzled and grumbled —
Oh! how they fumbled
To untwist their tiny old legs.
In Nornsfeather they looked like pretzels,
And were scooped up by Grady O’Sam.
I can sell them at my tavern, said he,
Along with my whiskey and jam.
Pleased were the bards
While playing their cards
To find pretzels such as these.
But when they saw Whittle’s spigot
They started to fidget
Like men who were covered with fleas.
Grady! cried they, Oh, Grady, Grady O’Sam!
Why do these pretzels have knees?
Grady came running.
I thought you were funning, said he,
And noticed the aroma of tea.
It’s Whittleweecumble! the bards all sang,
Friend, we have heard of thee.
We thought you were a pretzel.
And though it was late for the others’ fate,
Whittleweecumble was grateful.
From that moment forward,
Grady served oysters and beer.
Whittleweecumble, wouldn’t you know it,
Fell in love with a kettle of soup.
It happened quite sweetly.
He fell in quite neatly,
And Grady paid for the group.

From Songs and Letters, originally published September 14, 2005.

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Momo Luna said...

This post makes me happy. :-) I can see it all in my fantasy. The bards singing. The kind of song i wanna dream of as i go to bed full of worries.

William Michaelian said...

I’m glad you like it. And with the right kind of illustration, I think it could make a nice children’s book.

Elisabeth said...

A poem in the light of Lewis Carroll, whimsical and serious at once. I love it. It is fun to trace the meaning to imagine life from the perspective of a teapot, and such a tea pot.

William Michaelian said...

Indeed. I was delighted when his story came to light — although someday a sour biographer might happen along and decide to focus on his darker side. Or mine.