It is amazing the amount of antidotes, stories, images and yes silly rhymes that are stored in my brain. The first thing that popped into my head when I saw a robin the other day, just before the snow storm, was a nursery rhyme my mother would chant every March. It has been more than 40 years since I last heard my mother recite it but the words have become part of me.
The North Wind Doth Blow
The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.
This English poem originated in the 16th century, so it would seem that I am not the only mother to have a childhood nursery rhyme engraved in her mind in order that I too will pass down this oral tradition.
The use of catchy rhyming poems to teach children and to preserve oral tradition is probably thousands of years old. I sometimes stopped in the middle reciting of a nursery rhyme, realizing with a jot that the real meaning of the poem was quite dire or gory
Dr. Seuss understood the value of rhyming words and nonsense phrases and there are many pages from his books that are also carved in my brain, mostly the more annoying poems. Green eggs and Ham haunts me to this day.
“I do not like green eggs and ham I do not like them Sam-I-Am.”
“Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.”