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Buckingham Palace -- A A Milne

(Poem #1022) Buckingham Palace
 They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
 Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
 Alice is marrying one of the guard.
 "A soldier's life is terrible hard,"
                                Says Alice.

 They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
 Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
 We saw a guard in a sentry-box.
 "One of the sergeants looks after their socks,"
                                Says Alice.

 They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
 Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
 We looked for the King, but he never came.
 "Well, God take care of him, all the same,"
                                Says Alice.

 They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
 Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
 They've great big parties inside the grounds.
 "I wouldn't be King for a hundred pounds,"
                                Says Alice.

 They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
 Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
 A face looked out, but it wasn't the King's.
 "He's much too busy a-signing things,"
                                Says Alice.

 They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
 Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
 "Do you think the King knows all about me?"
 "Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,"
                                Says Alice.
-- A A Milne
The fashionably cynical will find plenty to mock at in A. A. Milne. There's
no denying that his poetry lacks depth: it's irritatingly self-satisfied,
determinedly insular, and above all, ineffably twee.

And yet...

There's a certain magic about Milne. His verse may not be Great Art, but
it's more than mere doggerel. It's charming, and assured, and
unselfconscious; it's invariably cheerful, often nostalgic and occasionally
subversively funny; it celebrates the Edwardian countryside and the English
experience with sincerity and honesty, and it does all these in words both
light-hearted and heartfelt. To criticise Milne's poetry for its lack of
depth is to miss the point entirely: simplicity can be a virtue. Especially
in these sophisticated days.


[Minstrels Links]

A. A. Milne:
Poem #91, Cottleston Pie
Poem #463, Disobedience
Poem #562, The King's Breakfast
Poem #576, Tra-la-la, tra-la-la

61 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

suresh said...

Wasn't there a PG Wodehouse poem published on minstrels once - a
hilarious parody of Milne's poetry?

Wodehouse isn't fashionably cynical at all... he just gently rips
Milne's poetry to shreds, each time :)


Mike Christie said...

Re triple rhymes: you might want to take a look at

[broken link]

which is a brilliant G&S parody written by Kevin Wald. Wald writes light
verse for a verse-based puzzle organization, the National Puzzlers' League
( This is not a puzzle, however; it's just a sparklingly funny
use of the G&S style.

Your guidelines indicate you're more interested in using poems by established
poets, so you may not want to use this--though a Google search finds it has
spread like wildfire across the net, so it's on its way to becoming an
established "Anon", I think. Anyway, I recommend you take a look; I think
you'll enjoy it.


RS Bedell said...

I don't care if it's not fashionable. I like the rhythm, I can remember all the verses and I'm going to make it my birthday poem. Shame on those who make fun of it! I'd like to see them come up with a better one!

Darren Forster said...

Anyone know who sung this song in the 1950s/60s??? I think it's a top
tune and would really love to get hold of a version of it on CD.

Alexx Kay said...

A very nice musical version of this poem was done by The Flash Girls, on their album "Play Each Morning, Wild Queen".

Dave said...

I have memories of hearing this little song/poem on the radio on afternoons after school in Fresno CA. in 1939 or 1940. It brings back an image of the house we lived in, with the palm tree in the front and the pepper tree on the corner. The little girl across the street and the walk to school in the cool mornings...and the walk home in the hot afternoon. Funny, how I remembered the tune and the drum riff, but had the name wrong...I thought it was "Allice and Jerry at Buckingham Palace".

Dave in Oregon

Anonymous said...

A.A milne is an amazing author. You can't really say any thing against him until you have achieved what he has achieved with his written work.

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