Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Miraculous Pitcher

Gentle old Philamon lived all his life

In a tumble-down cottage with Baucis, his wife.

They often went hungry, I'm sorry to say,

Yet they shared what they had with those poorer than they.

One day, to their door came a stranger who said:

"I'm hoping you'll offer me supper and bed.

Cold is the weather and dark is the night,

And hunger makes harder my pitiful plight."

"Come in," Baucis bade him. "You're welcome, indeed!

Sit down while I find you the supper you need."

As the stranger obeyed with a sigh of content,

Off to the kitchen the old people went.

"Our milk," Baucis whispered, "is milk of the best,

But alas, there is only enough for our guest!"

Said Philomen promptly: "Our stomachs are slim.

Let's tighten our belts; fill his bowl to the brim!"

When Baucis had done so, her eyes opened wide;

She had emptied the pitcher -- yet milk was inside!

It bubbled up, drop by delectable drop

Till the pitcher was filled again, clear to the top!

Suspecting that magic was lurking about,

They looked for the stranger (to thank him, no doubt),

But the stranger had gone as would vanish a ghost,

Without a goodbye to his hostess and host --

Unless his goodbye was the magical pitcher

Refilling with milk, ever sweeter and richer!

Ernestine Cobern Beyer
Originally published 7/31/07

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Magical Broom

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

It was Halloween night when I noticed my broom
With which I had lately been sweeping my room.
Seeing it move, I remarked with surprise:
"I cannot and will not believe my own eyes!
A broom doesn't move from its place by the shelf!
A broom is a broom!" I declared to myself.

Yet it struck me as strange when I noticed, my dears,
That the broomstick was growing a couple of ears;
And I have to admit that I turned rather pale
When all of a sudden it sprouted a tail.
Said I to myself: "I am dreaming, of course!
A broom doesn't turn itself into a horse!"

Refusing to look at the broom any more,
I hurried away, and I opened the door.
But there I was stopped by a queer little sound.
I paused with a shiver, and glancing around,
I lectured myself in my sensible way:
"You're hearing things, silly! A broom doesn't neigh!"

Little I knew! 'Twas uncanny, of course,
But the broom had become a complete little horse!
He pawed at the carpet and whinnied at me:
"Hop up!" he invited, as plain as could be.

So I climbed on his back as he wanted me to,
Then out of the window he happily flew!
Feeling as if I had saddled a breeze,
I clung to his mane as he hurdled the trees.
Gracefully rising, he headed for Mars,
And the street that he galloped was cobbled with stars!
Now suddenly witches appeared in the night
And followed behind like the tail of a kite.
Uttering horrible cackles and croaks,
They swooped all around in their fluttering cloaks.
Heavens to Betsy! A spooky parade—
But somehow or other, I wasn't afraid!

As my broom and I traveled that shimmering land,
The Man in the Moon waved a glimmering hand
And cheerfully hailed me, inviting me, please,
To stop for a bite of delicious green cheese;
But before I could answer a yes or a no,
We were sliding the sky to the valley below.

I was back in my own little cottage again.
I looked at my broom very sternly, and then
Said I: "I have never been out of this room!
It couldn't have happened! A broom is a broom!
And untangling a cloud from its bristles—-once more,
I stood it aslant in its place by the door.

Monday, March 26, 2007

From Read Me a Rhyme, Please!

The Laughing Willow

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer
Beside a pool within a wood
A family of willows stood.
They could not rest, they could not sleep;
All they did was weep and weep.
Indeed, they wept, this willow clan,
As they have wept since time began.

Imagine, then, the pain and grief
That shook the willows, root and leaf,
When suddenly beside the pool
The youngest willow broke the rule!
A woodsy laughter, small and thinned,
Fell lightly on the summer wind.

"Weep!" cried all the willow crowd.
"To laugh is simply not allowed!"
But though they showed him what to do,
And gave him Sobbing Lessons, too,
The youngest willow, small and daft,
Just tossed his arms and laughed and laughed!

Many, many thanks
Barbara Beyer Malley
the okay to post:)

By Barbara Beyer Malley

Following is another poem from
this most amazing family.

Written by Ernestine Cobern
Beyer's daughter Barbara,
especially for her daughter,
Dr. Kathleen Malley-Morrison,
who has been a teacher for many
years, and for Sarah, the daughter
Kathie shares with Sarah's birth
mother, Joanne. As of today, the
little girl in the poem is now a
young woman of 27.

From Barbara:

"...Kathie was injured in an
automobile accident in 1965.
I was thrilled when "Sarah's
Game" was accepted by a
magazine but shocked and
disappointed when the editors
chose to leave out the last two
When I protested, they
answered that sometimes
poets didn't realize when a
poem should end. Don't you
think they were mistaken? The
whole point of my tribute
to Kathie was to show how
gracefully and cheerfully
she accepted the game little
Sarah had invented."

Sarah's Game

Mommy, Mommy, let's pretend
That I am in the wheeling chair,
And while I'm wheeling, you can
And walk and run and climb a

Mommy, see me turn the wheels?
Her chubby arms propel the air:
Sarah's testing how it feels
To navigate a wheeling chair.

You may push me, Mommy, now,
Down the hall and to my room,
Just as sometimes I push you --
Faster, faster... vrooom, vrooom!

When Daddy opens up the door
I'll wheel to him across the floor.
Oh, won't he be surprised to see
That I am you and you are me!

When I grow up, perhaps I too
Can have a wheeling chair like you...
Mommy, aren't we having fun?
Indeed we are, my precious one.
Originally posted 5/26/08

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dec. 1 '06


The Revolt of the Little Tin Soldiers

Santa, one year, was upset, so I hear,
And his nerves were most terribly jolted,
When one wintry morning, without any warning,
The little tin soldiers revolted.

The Captain, black-booted, clicked heels and saluted.
"I speak for my regiment, Santa!
We're refusing to go through the sleet and the snow
To Kalamazoo or Atlanta!

"My men and myself shall remain on the shelf.
I know this is strictly forbidden,
But we don't like our suits or our helmets or boots --
So, on Christmas, we plan to stay hidden!"

Cried Santa Claus: "STOP! Who's running this shop?
I never heard sillier chatter!"
He sharpened his scrutiny. "This, sir, is mutiny!
What in tarnation's the matter?"

The captain of tin raised his little tin chin.
"Our uniforms couldn't be duller!
We're ashamed to be seen in this poisonous green!
We think we're a horrible color!"

Santa replied with a grin hard to hide,
"Your color's your only complaint, sir?"
He loosened his buckle to let out a chuckle.
"Well, that can be altered with paint, sir!"

Smiling a lot, Santa got out a pot
And worked with his paints for a minute.
Having mixed up a shade guaranteed not to fade,
He dunked the whole regiment in it.

And so, Christmas morn, no longer forlorn,
The soldiers looked ever so jolly,
Each with his puny form decked in a uniform
Brighter and redder than holly!

Tommy's Letter to Santa
Santa Claus, dressed in the loudest of vests,
Was reading his mail full of Christmas requests,
When he found Tommy's note (rather smudgy to see)
"A bonnet?" thought Santa. The rest of the note
Santa glanced at his wife and remarked with a wink,
"This Tommy deserves something special, I think!
He asks for some presents," he smilingly said,
But not for himself--for his mother, instead!"
Santa's wife reached for a jar on the table,
A jar which had "MAGIC" inscribed on its label.
She then found a box, sprinkled magic inside it,
And helped by old Santa, she carefully tied it.

When Christmas day dawned, very sparkling and pleasant,
Tommy discovered his gaily-wrapped present.

He opened it up and stared for a minute,
The box was quite empty! Not one thing was in it!
Then he noticed a card--and surprised to his socks,
He read, "Merry Christmas, my lad! Shake the box!"
Dazed and bewildered, he put on the lid,
And rattled the box just the way he was bid.

Well, I give you my word that he'd no sooner done it
Than out fell a stylish and flattering bonnet!
He shook it again, then he stared, goggle-eyed,
For out fell a dress that was seven yards wide.
Next came some rompers and booties so small,
They seemed to be made for a real baby doll!
But that wasn't all! Came a jumping-jack toy
And a book and a sweater just right for a boy!

Far off, Santa Claus and his missus were sitting,
He with his corncob and she with her knitting.
Their magical radio brought them the joys
Of the lad still delightedly finding his toys.
"That's Tommy," said Santa Claus, beaming with pride,
"He's shaking our box with the magic inside!"
Funny Face

Santa, it seems, had been working all day,
Preparing the toys he would take in the sleigh.
Weary, he glanced at the dolls on the shelf,
All of whose faces he'd painted himself.

Pleased with his work, he consulted the clock
And began to unbutton his paint-spattered smock;
But he paused as he noticed one doll he'd forgotten.
Her face was a blank little blob of white cotton.
He chuckled: "'Twould be the unkindest of tricks
To leave you in such an unfortunate fix!"
Her cheeks were so pale that he gave her a blush,
Then painting her face with his talented brush,
He remarked: "You're the prettiest doll of the year.
I must fetch Mrs. Santa to see you, my dear!"

As Santa departed, a gremlin came in.
And moved toward the doll with a mischievous grin,
Seizing a brush, he proceeded with haste
To give her a look that was more to his taste.

Dear Mrs. Santa, good-natured and chubby,
Then entered the room on the heels of her hubby.
Seeing the doll, Santa gasped with a blink:
"I never painted that comical wink!"
By jingles! A gremlin has been here, I think!"

Mrs. Santa consoled him. "Her smile is so sweet,
And her wink's so delightful, she's really a treat.
She'll make people chuckle, she'll fill them with glee,
And laughter's good medicine, don't you agree?
She's so funny, my dear, I know just what to do--
Why not give her to kids who have colds or the flu!"
On Christmas, he did this, I'm happy to tell . . .
And the little sick children all laughed themselves well!

Mrs. Santa's Surprise

Mrs. Santa was tiptoeing softly around,
Trying to cook without making a sound.
Santa, you see, was asleep in his chair,
Getting rested, no doubt, for his trip in the air.
He had kicked off his boots, and she saw to her woe
That his red woolen socks were each sprouting a toe.
With her mind on this matter instead of her cooking,
She stirred up a batter without even looking!

"Holes in his socks!" said this gentle old soul,
As she emptied a shaker of salt in her bowl.
"I'll darn them tonight," was her penitent thought.
And she threw in some pepper--far more than she ought!
"I wonder," she mused, "if I've yarn of that color?"
She puzzled a moment, then tossed in a cruller,
A cupful of ketchup, some leftover pie,
And a few other things that were standing nearby.
Absentmindedly adding exactly one clove,
She then set her batter to bake in the stove.
At noon when old Santa sat down to his lunch,

He said to his wife, "I've the happiest hunch
That this dish you've prepared is a lovely surprise!"
"You're right!" she replied, looking ever so wise.
"It's surprising to me! It's a funny receipt,
Which somehow I think would be hard to repeat."

Chuckled old Santa: "It must be more fun
When you don't know what's cooking 'til after it's done!"
Well, he sampled the dish--then he gave a great cough!
His whiskers flew up and his napkin flew off!
Hearing his wheezes, the good lady guessed
That her lovely surprise wasn't one of her best.
So hastily rising, her cheeks very pink,
She poured her surprising "surprise" in the sink.
"Never mind," Santa said in his comforting way,
"I'll take you to lunch at the Penguin Cafe."

At midnight strange vapors began to arise
From the sink where the dear soul had poured her "surprise."
You see, by a chance more amusing than tragic,
She'd happened to stir up some old-fashioned MAGIC!
Taking the form of most curious vapors,
That magic at midnight was starting its capers.
Into the workroom those vapors went floating,
And all that they touched got a magical coating!

A doll in the box where she'd lately been put,
Lifted the lid with one kick of her foot.
(It startles a person unhardened to shocks
When a dolly, by golly, sits up in her box!)
Next, some tin soldiers, all stiffer than starch,
Climbed out of their carton and started to march.

"Rat-a-tat-tat!" boomed a drum in the room.
"Boom!" said a tiny toy cannon. "Boom-boom!"
"What's that?" Santa asked, sitting up in his bed
With his nightcap and tassel awry on his head.
"I thought I heard something--a gun or a drum!"
Mrs. Claus gave a yawn. "You're dreaming. Ho-hum!"
Santa returned to his slumber once more,
Just as a doll softly opened his door--

The very same dolly whose feet raised the lid
Of the tissue-filled carton in which she was hid.
Climbing the bedspread, she sat on his chest,
Smiling and nodding her prettiest best.
Then, patting his cheek, she leaned close to his ear
And whispered a soft, "Merry Christmas, my dear!"
Santa Claus stirred and he uttered a sigh;
His rosy nose twitched as if touched by a fly,
And he smiled in his sleep as, at first flush of day,
The magical vapors went floating away!

Santa Claus, finishing turkey and pie,
Rose from the table and uttered a sigh,

And said with a wink at his little round wife:
"As a cook, Mrs. S., you're the crown of my life!"
Then brushing the crumbs of his banquet away,
He ran from the house and jumped into his sleigh.

Climbing a roof, Santa sat on its peak,
Sorting his gifts with his tongue in his cheek.
Then smiling, he waved at the slumbering town,
And climbing a chimney, he let himself down.
But suddenly, dear, his expression of buoyance
Changed to a look of astonished annoyance!
His holiday dinner had made him so stout,
He couldn't get down--and he couldn't get out!
He wiggled and wriggled, but Santa, by Jim'ney,
Was stuck like a jolly red cork in the chimney!

"Help!" Santa cried with the wind in his beard.
Windowpanes opened, and nightcaps appeared.
People ran out, rather scantily shirted;
The Mayor was called, the police were alerted!
Children looked on with delighted hysterics
As firemen worked with their pulleys and derricks

'Til finally Santa emerged with a flop,
Coming uncorked with an audible pop!

Well, somehow, my dears, he delivered his gifts,
Then homeward he flew over mountains and drifts;
And humbled, and puzzled, and risking her censure,
He told Mrs. Claus of his hapless adventure.
Patting his shoulder, she comforted him.
"Nonsense!" she said. "You are splendidly trim!
Come finish the pie--and don't worry or fear--
The chimneys are just getting smaller, my dear!"

Santa Claus, just a bit late, I believe
Was taking his usual trip, Christmas Eve,
When all of a sudden he uttered a shout
As his little red sled started lurching about.
Something had happened to startle the reindeer.
Donner, the leader, a very well-trained deer,
Had sighted a comet. (He had, on my honor . . . .)
And the comet was rapidly heading for Donner!

"Whoa!" shouted Santa--then grabbed at his cap,
But he might just as well have commanded: "Giddap!"
For Donner was dashing away in the sky,
Going so fast and so far and so high
That he very soon came to that place far away
Which angels reserve for small cherubs at play.

Alarmed at the sight of the runaway sled,
Some dove into mist-banks, heels over head;
One of them happily strumming his harp,
Showed his excitement by striking a sharp!
Another so hastily fled through the blue
That he tumbled his little gold halo askew!
"Whoa, Donner, whoa!" Santa loudly repeated,
Bouncing so high he was nearly unseated!
But rolling his eyeballs and snorting aloud,
Panicky Donner just fled for a cloud,
And reaching it, tunneled it hopefully through--
Only to find that the comet had, too!
Santa, poor fellow, was wearing a frown,
For by now he was riding along upside-down.

Then Donner swerved sharply, thus righting the sled,
And tailed by the comet, went plunging ahead
'Til he presently met, looming up in his track,
A rain-swollen cloud of a thunderous black.
Towering awesomely there in the skies,
This cloud was so very enormous in size
That when it uncorked its spectacular spout,
"Glug!" said the comet--and meekly went out.

Greatly relieved, Santa straightened his cap,
Slapped at the reins, and once more cried "Giddap!"
He waved at the cherubs and winked a bright eye
As Donner turned 'round and descended the sky.
And so, just as midnight was starting to chime,
He arrived at your rooftop exactly on time!

Santa's Leftover Toys
One Christmas Eve, after Santa got back,
Having traveled the world with his toy-filled sack,
He entered his house and he loosened his vest,
Kicked off his boots and lay down for a rest.
As soon as his jovial snores could be heard,
A magical happening quickly occurred.
The leftover toys on the tables and shelves
Came to life and began entertaining themselves.
A doll did a dance which was charming to view,
And a colorful clown did a tumble or two.
(I wish I had been there to see them, don't you?)
"What's that?" muttered Santa, reluctant to waken.
"That cannot be laughter! I must be mistaken!"
The doll who'd been dancing climbed up on a chair
And soothingly whispered to Santa, "There, there!"
And then (Could a gesture be sweeter than this?),
She bent her bright bonnet and gave him a kiss.
Bestowing on Santa a soft little glance,
She slid from her chair and returned to the dance.
The other dolls joined her and frolicked till dawn
While weary old Santa snored peacefully on.

Santa's Asleep

Santa, dear Santa, is having a snooze
Hush, hush! Don't make any noise.
He has just gotten home from his holiday cruise
And sleeps amid leftover toys.
His elfin assistants, that mischievous pair,
Play hide-and-seek there in his thistledown hair.
Santa, unheeding, is slumbering deep--
Santa's asleep!

Santa is sleeping, his head on his chest;
He's having a beautiful nap.
A goblin is sliding the slope of his vest,
While others are climbing his lap!
They swing on his whiskers which merrily soar
Lifted aloft by his hurricane snore!
But nothing disturbs him, no chuckle or peep--
Santa's asleep!

His cap is on crooked, he sprawls in his chair;
The goblins continue their play;
Peeking in, Mrs. Santa says softly, "Take care!"
Then quietly tiptoes away.
Santa, poor darling, is not any shirk,
But climbing down chimneys is rather hard work!
Let's all slip away, for we love him a heap--
Santa's asleep!

Friday, March 23, 2007

From Poetry with a Purpose


by Ernestine Cobern Beyer

Long ago, and far below the
sea's gigantic gale,
Meranda lived~ a mermaid with
a most becoming tail.
Her face was sweet and merry, and

her voice, enchanting, very,
As it mingled, light and airy, with

the ocean's somber scale.

King Neptune heard and was so stirred,

he called his wizards three.
"I want to keep Meranda's song!

It must not die!" said he.
"Come, wizard and magician!

Show your skill and your ambition.
And grant the wish I'm wishin'!

Catch this lovely song for me!"

The wisest of the wizards did not have

to ponder long.
Said he with verve, "A shell will serve

to hold Meranda's song!"
His brothers cried, "Be quiet! You're a
You can't deny it!"
But the king replied, "Let's try it! This

will prove him right or wrong!"

Meranda, then, began again her
captivating art.

She held a shell and sang to it while
Neptune stood apart.
She charmed the king completely with
the tune she trilled so sweetly--
And the shell retained it neatly in its
iridescent heart.

Go find a shell and listen well and
tell me what you hear.
Though wave and wind have dimmed and
thinned that singing, once so clear.

Through walls of pink and yellow you will
hear the ocean's cello...
And a murmur, soft and mellow, will

whisper in your ear.

*Meranda is from Poetry with a Purpose
compiled by Barbara Beyer Malley.
& a special
thanks to Michelle the Mermaid
from Justitia, for playing the part of Meranda:)

From Barbara Beyer Malley

A Christmas Mix-up

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

One bright Christmas Eve, years ago, I believe,
Santa felt feverish all day.
He was sick in his bed with a cold in his head,
And couldn't go out in his sleigh.
Mrs. Santa came in with a comforting grin.
"Now, just you rest cozy, my dear!
Yes, Santy, it's late, but don't worry your pate.
l'll deliver the presents this year!"

The good lady fled to the sled in the shed,
And patting the shoulder of Blitzen,
She mounted the seat, well-polished and neat
That Santa Claus usually sits in.
Then off and away went the little red sleigh!
Swiftly and surely it rose,
As above her abode Mrs. Santa Claus rode,
Cleaving the clouds with her nose.
Bursting with pride, she continued to ride,
Till carried by sure-footed hoof,
She at last settled down in a faraway town,
And nimbly stepped out on a roof.
But alas and alack! When she opened her pack
Full of Santa's bright playthings and games,
She found she'd mislaid the list he had made--
His list of addresses and names.

Well, Christmas, that year, was a mix-up, I hear.
The folks who liked puppies got kittens.
Babies looked wise wearing jackets and ties.
While their daddies got bootees and mittens!
A zoo-keeper got a geranium pot,
Quite useless, but charmingly painted.
While his gift, a bear, was delivered somewhere
To a nervous old lady who fainted.

But just about dawn when her gifts were all gone
Mrs. Santa flew home through the sky,
And she thought, knowing not of the havoc she'd wrought:
"What a blessing to Santa am I!"

Ernestine's original poem had ended here, but
the magazine editor thought young readers would
feel sad for all the disappointed children; they
asked her to give the poem a happier ending. She
sat down and with the greatest of ease came up with
the following verses. She also had to change, "Go sit
on an icicle, Bill," which didn't pass the censors.
She complained that "iceberg" spoiled the meter.


But when Christmas was past, and Santa, at last
Was belatedly reading his mail,
He discovered with shame that the gist of the same
Was an angry or sorrowful wail.
"Dear Santy," (I quote from one brief little note),
"Thanks for the dress with the frill,
And thanks for the doll and the pink parasol--
Go sit on an iceberg . . . Bill."
Santa, no dunce, understanding at once
What had happened, ran out of the house,
Determined to fix up the terrible mix-up
Caused by his blundering spouse.

With his list in his hand he flew over the land,
And never a moment he rested
Till each girl and boy had gotten the toy
Which had been so politely requested.

Then homeward he went, well pleased and content,
And he gave Mrs. Santa three kisses,
But the muddle she made when she offered her aid,
He tactfully kept from the missus!
And that lady, forsooth, unaware of the truth,
Was happy, and quite satisfied.
She was full of good cheer that lasted all year,
Because of her Christmas ride.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

To My Daughter at Eighteen

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

In love’s most secret alchemy, divine,
I bore you. You are mine— and yet not mine.
Ancestral patterns blending with the new,
Designed the special pattern that is You.

So did the present and the past devise,
Your fair young face, your tender, laughing eyes.
Amazed, I look upon your grace and mirth
As might at some sweet flower the marveling earth!

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

Too Many Tails

There once was a monkey named Bimbo, my dear,
Who lived in a country far distant from here.
He could scamper and climb, he could swing from a limb,
Or hang upside-down if it suited his whim.
Yet he sighed and he moped without pause or restraint.
"I've only one tail!" was his constant complaint.
"If only one tail is so handy," thought he,
"How dapper and dandy a second would be!"

Now, it happened one day as he swung through the wood,
Sighing and moping as only he could,
He came to a well where he paused for a drink,
Then sat himself down for a moment to think.
And of course, being Bimbo, he thought without fail:
"Oh my! How I'd like an additional tail!"

Well, honest to goodness! Believe it or not,
He found when he presently rose from the spot,
That the wish he'd been wishing had promptly come true!
Instead of one tail, Bimbo now possessed two!
You see, quite by chance (Oh, it's wondrous to tell!)
He had happened to drink from a magical well!

He scampered away with his tails in the air,
And finding a branch, he played happily there.
But after awhile, an idea occurred
Which I think you'll agree was a trifle absurd.

"If two tails," he thought, "are so much to my liking,
"Three would be even more handsome and striking!"
With this in his mind, he swung earthward, and then,
He drank from the Magical Well once again.
Yes, greedily thirsty, he drank like a fish--
And Bimbo once more was granted his wish!

Filled to the brim with both water and glee,
He merrily clambered a coconut tree.
But once he was there, I am sorry to say,
He found that his tails were a bit in the way.
Tail number one caught a branch in its grip,
Tail number two gave a swish and a flip,
And catching another branch high from the ground,
It wrapped itself firmly and fondly around.
As for tail number three--with embarrassing zest,
It tightly encircled a large hornets' nest.

Hearing his outcries, the animals came
And laughed to behold Bimbo's sorrow and shame.
But finally loosing himself, the poor monk,
Followed by hornets, fell plunkety-plunk!
And where did he land? Do you want me to tell?
He landed head-first in the Magical Well!
Wiser (and wetter!) he climbed out . . . and then,
He heartily wished to have one tail again!
"Those two extra tails, though delightful," thought he,
"Came pretty near making a monkey of me!"



by Ernestine Cobern Beyer

My love and I, we duel.
I know his every trick!
His rapier-wit is cruel,
My parry, sharp and quick.

Deaf to our hearts' pleading,
We wound each other deep,
Till staggering and bleeding,
We sheathe our words and weep.

Another from Awesome Adventures--

a work in progress...


By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

Bertie, the bookworm, had gone to no college
And yet he was bursting with wisdom and knowledge.
He lunched on old papers and books, thick or slim--
Just any old volume was Wheaties to him!

Bertie felt saucy and proud as a pup
For learning came easy. He just ate it up.
He thought he was smarter than all other bugs:
The flies on the windows, the moths in the rugs,
The crickets that sing or mosquitoes that sting--
Smarter than any afoot or awing!
And he'd say as they watched him, observing him fatten:
"Go `way: I'm digesting a lecture in Latin."

"Let's teach him a lesson," said Minnie, the moth,
Thoughtfully chewing a morsel of cloth.
"Let's think up a question with plenty of punch,
Or some fact that he hasn't had yet for his lunch!"
"Yes, let's," said a solemn old spider named Harvey;
"Yeth, leth," lisped a chorus of newly-hatched larvae.
So the flies and the spiders, all sizes and models,
Dug up some hard questions that puzzled their noddles.

Bertie, they hoped, would look foolish, at best,
But he wasn't embarrassed at all by their test.
He simply glanced up from the book he was nibbling
And answered all questions without any quibbling.

The months jogged along. He grew pompous and fat--
And of course, with a very good reason for that:
He'd discovered a Webster. With relish and ease
He digested the pages clear through to the Zs.
But here Bertie finally met his comeuppance.
He gagged on "zymosis," "zygote," and "zygoma,"
And choking on "zyzzyva," fell in a coma.

His plight might have been rather glum, I suppose,
And Bertie, perhaps, would have turned up his toes
Had Minnie not seen him and hastily said:
"You're a very sick bookworm! Get right into bed!"

By degrees he improved, though it took quite a time,
But he will feel fine by the end of this rhyme,
And he won't be so saucy and vain any more,
Nor quite such a boastful, unpopular bore.
And if you should ask me the why and the how,
He's digesting an Essay on Modesty now!

Many thanks to Barbara Beyer Malley,
Ernestine's daughter & author of
Available from Barnes & Noble,
& linked on the right-
for permission to post:)

The Remedy

by Ernestine Cobern Beyer

A certain king of great renown
Saw everybody upside down.
It much disturbed him day and night,
So topsy-turvy was his sight.

To try to cure the good king's eyes
There came a doctor old and wise
Who dosed the king with horrid brews,
And poured red pepper in his shoes.

These things the patient king endured,
But when the doctor cried, "You're cured!"
His Highness blinked and glumly said:
"Sir! Must you stand upon your head?"

Came other clever doctors, then,
Distinguished and important men.
"The Cold Cure is the very thing!"
Said they, "Let's try it on the king!"

They promptly wrapped him in a sheet
With lumps of ice at head and feet.
Although it was a famous one,
This cure was very little fun.

"You're healed!" they cried. "Without
a doubt,
Your sickness has been frozen out!"
But they were wrong- for all that froze
Was just the royal nose and toes.

Well, being men of great resource,
They tried the Hot Cure next, of course.
But though they baked him toe to brow,
His sole response to this was "OW!"

Then came a wizard, tall of hat,
Who cured the king as quick as that!
He simply turned him upside down
And stood His Highness on his crown.

"Hooray!" The king's relief was vast.
"You all look right side up, at last!"

by Ernestine Cobern Beyer


My gift was delivered at seven

Just as I woke where I lay.

Postmarked explicitly "Heaven,"

My gift was this beautiful day.

One matchless, miraculous morning.

Surrendered in trust to my care,

It came bearing only this warning,

"Fragile. Handle with prayer."

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ernestine Cobern Beyer's

Rupert Revere and the Flashlight
                               A flashlight, my friend, was the cause of it all.
                                        It belonged to one Rupert Revere—

                           That swaggering buster whose penchant for bluster                      
                                     Was known in the town, far and near.

One night, with his flashlight held tight in his hand,
He was walking with Charlie Carew,
When his tongue started wagging with boasting and bragging,
As only old Rupert's could do.

"The beam of my flashlight is mightily strong,"
He remarked to his buddy with pride.

"I bet I could clamber its beamstalk of amber
Clear up to the moon, if I tried!"
"I dare you to do it!" cried Charlie Carew;
"Sure, a powerful flashlight is that,
But I'm doubting, old timer, you're able to climb `er
As far as the top of my hat!"

"Hold the flashlight, my friend," Rupert promptly replied.
Then (remarkable though this may seem),

Revere, very solemn, grasped firmly its column,
And started to
climb up the beam!

Yes, hand over hand, like a sailor he went,
Full of courage, ambition, and hope,
And quick as you please, with the greatest of ease,

He shinnied that shimmering rope.
No doubt he'd have reached either Venus or Mars,

Little knowing for sure which was which,
                    But Carew got excited and over-affrighted . . .And foggily
turned off the switch!
What happened to Rupert, the brassy, the bold?
Well, it wasn't a matter for mirth.
His coattails unraveled as downward he traveled,
Heading head-first for the earth!

His end might have been quite unpleasant, no doubt,
But a happy surprise was in store,
For he landed, ka-phoom, in his very own room
And awoke seeing stars on the floor.

Not one to give up was old Rupert Revere,
Although dazed by the bump on his head.
Still filled with ambition, he made it his mission
To clamber right back into bed.

Originally published on this blog on 5/26/08

In Time for St. Valentine's Day


By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

When Himself's behind his paper and
the childer sleepin' sound,
And the moon's a winkin' lantern
throwin' shadows all around,
Forsakin' fire and hearthstone, down
the Way of Dreams I start
To meet my darlin' truelove in a
corner of my heart.

His voice is like the west-wind when
it whispers low and sweet,
His words are like the poppies that be
growin' in the wheat.
I forget the bangin' shutters and the
candle's sleepy stare,
When I meet my laughin' truelove where
he's waitin' for me there.

When Himself has grown a-weary
in the cozy evening tide,
A ghost it is that follows him and
settles at his side.
I'll be so true and faithful that he'll
never know, shall he,
I go to meet the laughin' lad, the
lad he used to be! 

Originally published on this blog, with permission from Barbara Beyer Malley, on 2/13/07. 

Birthington's Washday

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

Birthington Biddle (his friends called him Bertie)
Would have been nice if he hadn't been dirty.
So grubby and grimy was Birthington's face,
His appearance, alas, was a perfect disgrace.

You see, he believed soap and water were poison,
And tubs were for clothes--not to wash little boys in.
Crusted with dust which flew up from the street,
He grew heavier, daily, and slower of feet.

And though his poor mother could hardly endure him,
She couldn't, it seemed, either change him or cure him.
On the day he turned ten, Bertie found to his shame,
He could no longer run or take part in a game.

Just one final cinder, just one speck of dust
Had at last overburdened the weight of his crust.
Yes sir, one speck had stopped Bert in his track
Just as one final straw broke the poor camel's back.

Unable to move, Bertie let out a yelp . . .
A mud-smothered holler: "Help, Mother, help, help!
Mrs. Biddle came running, and seizing a hose,
She hastily soused him from cowlick to toes.

The water gushed out in a glorious squirt,
And merrily melted his coating of dirt.
Thank goodness, that crust which had made him look fat
Was banished forever in two minutes flat!

His mother was filled with unspeakable joy
As she gazed at her clean little, lean little boy.
This was a day she would never forget--
His birthday! The day Dirty Bertie got wet!

That gurgle-and-slosh day, that sputter-and-splosh day,
Known in the village as Birthington's Washday!

Many thanks as always, to
Barbara Beyer Malley
for permission to post. =)

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Magical Hat

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

Patrick was hunting, one Halloween day,
Through a trunkful of treasures long hidden away,
When much to the pleasure and profit of Pat,
He came on a wonderful magical hat.

Well, quite as if this were his usual habit,
He put in his hand, and he drew out a rabbit.
Pleased, but not thrilled into shivers and chills,
Pat muttered: "That trick is as old as the hills!"

Then thoughtfully scratching his smart little head,
"I think I will pull out some people!" he said.
And he did! From that hat so imposing and tall,
He pulled out a lady in bonnet and shawl.
A dignified man and his neighbor came next,
And one or two more whose expressions were vexed.
"I," said the lady, "was having a nap!"
"And I," said a man, "was at dinner, young chap!
"I," sniffed the neighbor, "was feeding my cats!"
"We hate," they all cried, "to be pulled out of hats!"

With this, looking ever so grumpy and glum,
They jumped in the hat out of which they had come,
And--pffftt!--they all vanished! "Now, that," approved
"Is what I would call a remarkable hat trick!"


Luke the Duke

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

Luke was a ghost who had been
a grand duke
In satin knee-britches and powdered
Now a ghost, as you know, is supposed
to be scary,But Luke was a phantom both timid and wary.
In fact, he knew well he was woefully
He hadn't the ghost of a talent for
Sighing, he thought: "I'm a shame and
To every respectable ghost in the place!"

So to boost his morale, he began then
and there,
To hunt for some promising mortal to scare.

Well, floating along in his usual way,
Whom should he meet but young Donald O'Shay?
Luke studied the lad and decided that Don
Was an excellent prospect for practicing on.
By all ghostly rules, as he certainly knew,
He should mutter at once a lugubrious "Boo-oo!"
But would you believe it, before he could do it,
A funny thing happened—-young Don beat him
to it!"Boo, you old ghost!" shouted Donny O'Shay.
"You don't scare me a bit. Now get out of my way!"
Recoiling from Donald in terror complete,
Nervous old Luke nearly leapt from his sheet.

Instead of depriving his victim of breath,

And properly scaring him nearly to death,
The lad turned the tables (some feat to contrive!)
And frightened the timorous phantom alive!Home hurried Donald—-a hero, gadzook,
While dressed in knee-britches and powdered peruke,
Went lively old Luke, once again a grand duke.

Thank you again to

Barbara Beyer Malley.


Originally posted 10/13/07 =)

The Leprechaun

*By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

I met a little leprechaun.
He gasped and quavered: "Ooo!
I'm seeing things! Be off! Be gone!
There's no such thing as you!

"You can't be real, you ugly thing,
So I'm not scared," he said,
"Though you have neither tail nor wing,
Nor horns upon your head!"

I looked at him, then ran, my dear,
As would, I think, have you,
'Cause people sometimes disappear
When leprechauns say: "Boo!"

*From the wonderful book of

poetry for children,
Read Me a Rhyme, Please! 

And with many, many thanks to

Ernestine's daughter, Barbara
Beyer Malley, for permission to
post:) *K*s

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

The Tree of Heaven
(an Easter Ballad)

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

The trees flung up their branches
And in the dark they cried:
"On one of us long, long ago,
The Lord was crucified!"

A weeping sapling murmured:
"Alas, how can I grow?
On one of us the Savior died.

I would I did not know!"

And all night long a sighing
Became a brimming flood;
Petals fell like teardrops,
And sap ran forth like blood.

Until at dawn of morning
From whirling clouds of flame,
A Voice consoled the forest
And comforted its shame.

"Blame not, O trees, your brother,
For this I say to you:
The tree that was to be the cross
Knew not for what it grew.

"It loved the sun, the starlight;
It sheltered nesting birds.
Its boughs were stirred with music,
It sang with leaves for words.

"In innocence and beauty

It grew from day to day,
And in its peaceful shadow
I often knelt to pray.

"Then came that grievous morning--

The day men did the Wrong.

They stripped me of my garments,
The tree, of leaf and song.

"I died. I rose to heaven

Where cherubim shone bright
And stood in dazzled wonder
Before the Glory Light.

"And while the angels gathered
To welcome me and sing,
I bade the tree to Paradise
And God's eternal spring.

Beneath its boughs the cherubs
New-come to Heaven play
Until their eyes, grown stronger,
Can bear the Glory Ray.

"So harken, tossing branches!

Let every tree adore
The Cross that is the symbol
Of love forevermore."

Then cried the little sapling:

"Sing out that all is well.
Ye twinkle-footed rivers,
Run 'round the earth and tell.

"Rejoice, rejoice, my brothers!
Come praise with windy lute
The Tree that bore the Savior.
(O blest and piteous fruit!)
Praise, praise the Tree of Heaven
Nor let one leaf be mute!"

(From 3/27/10)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Emperor's Robe

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

To a famous old Emperor, long, long ago,
Came two wicked tailors who bowed very low.
"We've come," stated one with a smirk and a smile,
"To make you a robe of unusual style.

The cloth we shall use (oh, it passes belief!)
Is invisible, Sire, to a rogue or a thief!
Only the good and the just and the kind
Can see it, the cloth is so ultra-refined!"
Said the Emperor, being a bit of a dunce,
"Make it at once!"

Those tailors, the craftiest pair on the globe,
Then went through the motions of making the robe.
They measured and cut and they snipped and they stitched,
While the Court and the Emperor watched them, bewitched.

Not one in the palace was honest enough
To say: "There's no robe! It's a hoax! It's a bluff!"
Instead, they exclaimed with exuberant praise:
"Never has robe so enchanted our gaze!"
The Emperor thought (and most puzzled was he)
"Everyone's able to see it but me!
I mustn't admit it because if I do,
It means I'm a rogue or I'd see the robe, too!
And so I must use my invalu'ble head,
And pretend that I see it!" Aloud, then, he said:
"The robe is distinguished! (Be careful! Don't tear it!)
And since it's a robe of exceptional merit,
"I'll wear it!"

Well, wear it he did. Dressed in nothing, complete,
The Emperor happily strutted the street
While two little pages, important and vain,
Hoisted aloft his invisible train.
Everyone cheered him with fervor and joy
Except little Peter, the butcher man's boy,
Who, having no personal axes to grind,
Stated the truth with an innocent mind.

Cried Peter in wonder unblemished with guile:
"The Emperor's wearing a beautiful smile!
And," he went on in a tone clear and small,
That's ALL!"


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Stranger

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

As I was walking through a wood, one cool September day,
I chanced to see a stranger standing jaunty, in my way.
There wasn't much about him to remark about, I guess--
Unless it might be possibly the matter of his dress.
I couldn't help from noticing the jacket he had on,
For glory be! 'Twas greener than McGillicuddy's lawn!
Except for that, there wasn't much to stretch a pair of eyes--
Unless I should be mentioning the matter of his size!
It's really rather seldom you'll be meeting, on your walks,
A bit of man who measures seven inches in his socks.

I looked at him and looked at him and kinda thought it over,
While he stared back, his little head just level with the clover.
"You're not a native of the town!" I presently decided.
"No, that I'm not!" the little man quite cheerfully confided.
"Well then," I went on thoughtful-like, as sharp I looked him through,
"I'm thinking you're a stranger, here." Said he: "I think so, too!"
Said I: "Could be that you're a man who's kinda shrunk a little!"
"It could be now!" he answered me, a trifle noncommittal.
Then, standing up all fine and straight, he faced me like a hero.
(The brash of him whose size was little more than two times zero!)
Then sweeping off his tiny cap, he said with quite a bow:
"Good luck to you, long life to you--and I'll be leaving, now!"

With that, the little fellow went. 'Twas queer, I do declare!
He didn't walk away from me. He simply wasn't there!

Well, as I wandered homeward with the sunlight in my eyes,
I talked it over with myself. (Myself is wondrous wise!)
Said I: "He was a pipe dream! Aye! He surely was the type!
"Fiddlesticks!" Myself replied. "You've never owned a pipe."

And thinkin' of the matter, very sober in the dawn,
The both of us decided I had met a leprechaun!


Many thanks to Barbara Beyer Malley for permission
to post her mother's delightful poem. (From Poetry
with a Purpose).

Originally posted 4/17/10


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