Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A.A. Milne's Poetry

After last week's delightful article on poetry by Victoria, I'm here today with the first poetry installment on My Lady Bibliophile. They may not be grand and romantic, but they are whimsical, with great insight into the human heart. I've been savoring them for months: A.A. Milne's Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young.

If you've read the Pooh stories and not the poetry, like I had, then you won't want to miss these any longer than you have already. If you haven't read the Pooh stories or his poems, then what are you waiting for? Be off with you!

Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young
[From Goodreads] Everyone who has read Milne's original Pooh books knows that he can write a good hum, after all Pooh gives us several.
In this volume (and the earlier "When We Were Very Young") Milne's voice comes through more clearly, unmoderated by writing for his bear of little brain. He gives us a small volume full of poems that should surely last as well as his prose. While some of them are strongly flavoured by the time and place where he wrote them others are more universal in their subject and tone.
As you read this volume you will almost certainly come across something you recognise, if it isn't the line "James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree" that catches your memory then it might be "Just a bit of butter for the royal slice of bread." If not, then you will find many of them sticking when you have read them to a child.
My Thoughts

I now find I read them out of order by accident. *blushes* So start with When We Were Very Young! Actually, it doesn't matter what you start with, they're quite individual volumes, but Now We Are Six emphasizes Christopher Robin getting older, so that's the only difference between them.

Each poem was so precious that I savored them like candy, making myself stop every few so that it could last longer. I think what I loved most about these two volumes is Milne's ability to deeply sympathize with the perspective of a child. As he writes, all the childhood joys and trials flood over you again--the joy of imagination and brand new grown-up things, and the annoyance of things like holding hands and busy adults who won't listen. Milne's stories have a magical essence to them because he never forgot childhood. Most of us do. I'm already forgetting, and I was passionate about remembering so I could sympathize with the younger lot. But Milne--he helps me remember. The joys of watching raindrops race down a window and choosing your favorite to win. Trying to walk so you don't touch the sidewalk cracks. Imaginary friends that you took everywhere with you. Those joyful, common childhood experiences wash over you in a wave of nostalgia as you read each line. Milne's poems are so innocent and idyllic that they almost hurt your heart to read sometimes--but in the best and most joyful of ways.

Favorite Poems from Now We Are Six: The Knight Whose Armour Didn't Squeak, Us Two, Forgiven, Come Out With Me, Waiting at the Window, Pinkle Purr.

Favorite Poems from When We Were Very Young: Buckingham Palace, Independence, Nursery Chairs, The Invaders, Teddy Bear, Vespers.


  1. Oh, these sound so sweet. I enjoyed the Pooh stories growing up, so I'll keep an eye out for these. A bit of nostalgia's always good. :) Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. I really enjoyed this. This post inspired a purchase on Amazon this evening. :P I'll have to tell you about it!

    1. I was quite thrilled. Can't wait to see your purchase when it comes. <3

  3. We've had When We Were Very Young since I can remember. So it was a part of my childhood.

    Another book by A.A. Milne that I love, and you may have never read, is the Red House Mystery. It's not the whimsical children's story, but a jolly English mystery roughly in the era of Jeeves and Wooster. :D I've read it multiple times and loved it each time.

    1. I have read the Red House Mystery! It makes me think of Jeeves and Wooster a lot--jolly good fun. :D Apparently Milne also wrote a play called The Ugly Duckling, which I also need to look up!


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