Poems from the English Romantics like Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, and Byron are read side by side with cowboy poetry and nonsense verses
. One family story reminded Lucas of an old limerick that he mostly recalled: "A wonderful bird is the pelican / His bill holds more than his belly can...." Then Lucas forgot a line, which we were able to recapture thanks to the internet, available even at the beach in recent years.
This is where the 19-year-old artist Edward Lear, now better-known for his later career as writer of nonsense verses
, produced a series of hand-coloured lithographs of parrots studied from life soon after the zoo opened in 1828.
The book consists of 42 spooneristic nonsense verses
for children, accompanied by the author's characteristic line drawings.
What I Like (Poems For The Very Young) by Gervase Phinn, Child's Play, pounds 4.99THIS is a great collection of verse for very young children which deals with issues close to every youngster's heart - from family and school to food and animalsThere are also nonsense verses
, finger games and some original treatments of familiar nursery rhymes - our favourite was Humpty Dumpty - complemented by funny and wacky illustrationsAn ideal introduction to poetry and a good opportunity to help children experiment with words and sounds
As children they read the same nonsense verses
, and tales of heroism at sea; both were fascinated with military strategy, and by naval warfare in particular.
It is steeped in history and over the years welcomed visitors ranging from EdwardLear, the writer of nonsense verses
, to Winston Churchill,and, during the Hamiltons' 13 years in residence, guests included Margaret Thatcher, Michael Portillo,Ken Dodd, BarbaraCartland and, most recently, Louis Theroux.
A few days before, they'd asked our piano player if he could help give them some "hip" harmonies, like "Take Six." (Try to remember that it was innocent showgirl singers that put "hip" and "Take Six" in the same sentence, not me, okay?) We listened to them practice a bit and then Teller said, "I guess they're working on their war show." There was a moment of silent sadness and then I banged four times on the table and chanted, "Everybody's talking about bagism, dragism, fagism, shagism, thisism, thatism, isn't it the most." Teller and our piano player Jonesy joined me on the chorus, "All we are say-ing, is give peace a chance." I happen to know all the nonsense verses
so I chanted them and Teller and Jonesy joined me on the choruses.
I'd just inherited the tradition: folklore, simple music, nursery rhymes, Spanish coplas, love of proverbs." Playing games with words held a special fascination for her, whether she was translating English nonsense verses
or creating new material.