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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Number 183: Shel Silverstein "Hippo's Hope"

Hippo's Hope

There once was a hippo who wanted to fly
--Fly-hi-dee, try-hi-dee, my-hi-dee-ho.
So he sewed him some wings that could flap through the sky
--Sky-hi-dee, fly-hi-dee, why-hi-dee-go.

He climbed to the top of a mountain of snow
--Snow-hi-dee, slow-hi-dee, oh-hi-dee-hoo.
With the clouds high above and the sea down below
--Where-hi-dee, there-hi-dee, scare-hi-dee-boo.

(Happy ending)

And he flipped and he flapped and he bellowed so loud
--Now-hi-dee, loud-hi-dee, proud-hi-dee-poop.
And he sailed like an eagle, off into the clouds
--High-hi-dee, fly-hi-dee, bye-hi-dee-boop.

(Unhappy ending)

And he leaped like a frog and he fell like a stone
--Stone-hi-dee, lone-hi-dee, own-hi-dee-flop.
And he crashed and he drowned and broke all his bones
--Bones-hi-dee, moans-hi-dee, groans-hi-dee-glop.

(Chicken ending)

He looked up at the sky and looked down at the sea
--Sea-hi-dee, free-hi-dee, whee-hi-dee-way.
And he turned and went home and had cookies and tea
--That's hi-dee, all hi-dee, I have to say.

-- Shel Silverstein

Hap Notes: I love Saturday. I suppose it's because I still have that percolating joyous feeling when I wake up that there's no school today. Then I remember that I'm an adult and Saturdays mean cleaning out the garage, doing laundry, running errands and lawn work. But always in the back of my head there's some strange delight in the idea that there's no school today which meant cartoons, tennis shoes, reading, playing "statue" (did you ever play that?) or pirate and more reading. When I wake up in the morning I still say "YAY! It's Saturday!" and I have for more than 40 years. It has now passed into a happy ritual.

Today's Saturday poem reminds me just a bit of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books where after reading a couple of pages, you decided what would happen next based on a couple of choices and then turn to the page number where that option would play out in the story. Remember those? I'll be amazed if you don't; they sold more than 250 million copies of those books from 1979-1998. (Yeah, I looked that up.)

I always choose the chicken option in this poem but I suppose it's really because I just like cookies and tea.

Hippos are the source of much light verse from Hillaire Belloc (I shoot the hippotomus/ With bullets made of platinum/ Because if I use leaden ones/ His hide is sure to flatten 'em.) to T.S. Eliot's wry comments on the church. (Have you ever read that? It's evil good. You can find it here: There's a good Ogden Nash one, too:

For cartoons today, here's a very freaky explanation of why the blue danube is blue (although for years it was filled with pollution but they've fixed it a bit, now). This is the kind of cartoon people used to see exclusively at the movie theater:

Here's a really funny Mel Brooks (!) voiced and written cartoon from the 60's:

And here's Betty Boop (in another pre-movie cartoon) with the housecleaning blues. Grampy fixes that right up:

The masthead includes one of my favorite Thurber cartoons. The extraordinary hippo with wings hatching is from

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