No doubt, the cow that jumped over the moon has inspired many a poet, artist, illustrator, and just plain visionary and/or liver of life. Because it is so very common, we might tend to overlook the importance of a simple rhyme like Hey, Diddle, Diddle, but allow me to remind you how very, very important simple nursery rhymes actually are:
Hey, diddle, diddle,
BY MOTHER GOOSE
Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
Consider all of the fantastic things going on in those few lines. A pet animal has become so very real that he can play a musical instrument, and not only that, he is playing a song that makes folks want to dance. Life is being lived at the max: it is over the moon–heavenly–and common household items have become human. They have gotten married, and have run away for a life of bliss.
Life just does not get any better than what is described in Hey Diddle Diddle. I have spent my entire life, trying to get over that cow’s moon. Haven’t you?
Let’s give the cat, the fiddle, the cow, and the moon credit: They taught us how to dream.
I grew up reciting nursery rhymes, and I am quite sure that today, I still have a nursery-rhyme-mind. I think in cadences, and invariably, when I write a picture book manuscript, I do so in rhyme. The magic of childhood has been captured in nursery rhymes and by wonderful illustrators like Clara M. Burd who died 17 years before I was born in 1950.
I grew up chanting about Mistress Mary and her garden filled with cockle shells and cowslips all in a row, and to this day, I slave in my garden, trying to create a fairy tale escape for myself.
Jacki Kellum Garden Read Why Everyone Needs A Secret Garden Here at jackikellum.com
I grew up believing that Daddy had gone a hunting for a bunting to wrap me up and protect me in, and perhaps there is something wrong with that kind of fantasy, but I seriously doubt it. I believe that children need to be wrapped and swaddled and cuddled and protected. I believe that they need to learn to find magic and wonder while they can.
[Love Life and Life Will Love You Back by Margaret Tarrant who was still illustrating when I was born in 1950.]
I believe that children need to learn to love life. Certainly, as a child matures, life will find ways to come around and turn all of that magic on its head, but I believe that the child grounded in the wonder-world of nursery rhymes will have an arsenal to fight the evil that will surely come his way.
Even as a child, I realized that things could go wrong. After all, Humpty Dumpty fell from his wall. A bit of reality is not bad, but I see no reason to turn children into cynics. As they become adults, they will have plenty of disappointment and set-backs. Eventually, fighting cynicism becomes difficult for most of us. Childhood is a time for picking rosebuds and for filling one’s well with optimism. It is a time for banking happiness and a time for preparing and for establishing attitudes that will hopefully carry us through the hard task of living.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note. …
They took some honey, and plenty of money—what more could anyone want? Honey and money–the sweet stuff of life and PLENTY of money–enough money to pay the bills: that is more than enough for me, and that has become my mantra–Please, God, continue to provide me with what has become enough for me, and help me to Dance by the Light of Your Moon.
“Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
From Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear
They danced by the light of the moon– That is what I want to do. I want to Dance by the Light of the Moon, and because of God’s grace, I do.
On Silver Sheets, I Sail
by Jacki Kellum
Just before I open my eyes
I float along the misty skies.
I reach, I feel the soft, white hair
and fairy wings that flutter there.
I listen, I hear the slumber song,
The angel band that plays along
My dreams are in my pillow-pail.
On silver sheets, I sail.
©Jacki Kellum July 4, 2017
©Jacki Kellum August 1, 2017