mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Unbelievable facts

There are evidently two poems by AE Housman about a child eaten by a bear.

The Grizzly Bear

The Grizzly Bear is huge and wild
It has devoured the little child.
The little child is unaware
It has been eaten by the bear.

In one source and one only, as far as I can see (The Delphi Complete Works), this is expanded to

The Bear or The Empty Perambulator or The Pathos of Ignorance,

The bear, untameable and wild,
Has just devoured an infant child.
The infant child is not aware
It has been eaten by the bear.

As someone remarked, 'it’s a shame that Edward Gorey never illustrated it.' Certainly it sounds more Gorey or Belloc than Housman-- not that the first sounds like Housman either. But then, if Eliot hadn't published Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, I'd be just as surprised that 'Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw--' came from the same pen as

If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.

(I'm amazed anyone gets past the first ten lines of Four Quartets. I never got much farther myself. It's very German Opera-ish.)
Tags: verse

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