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The Bread-Knife Ballad -- Robert Service

Carrying on with the theme, here's a guest poem from Michelle Marie
WHITEHEAD
(Poem #1688) The Bread-Knife Ballad
 A little child was sitting upon her mother's knee
 and down her cheeks the bitter tears did flow;
 and as I sadly listened, I heard this tender plea,
 'twas uttered in a voice so soft and low...

     Please, Mother, don't stab Father with the bread-knife.
     Remember 'twas a gift when you were wed.
     But if you must stab Father with the bread-knife,
     Please, Mother, use another for the bread.

 "Not guilty!" said the Jury, and the Judge said, "Set her free,
 but remember this must not occur again.
 Next time, you must listen to your little daughter's plea."
 Then all the Court did join in this refrain...

     Please, Mother, don't stab Father with the bread-knife.
     Remember 'twas a gift when you were wed.
     But if you must stab Father with the bread-knife,
     Please, Mother, use another for the bread.
-- Robert Service
Martin has requested poems which we have been moved to memorise. The nursery
rhyme, "Curly Locks" which he posted is a particular favourite of mine...
along with:

  There was a little girl
  who had a little curl
  right in the middle of her forehead,
  and when she was good
  she was very very good...
  and when she was bad
  she was horrid.

I could go on quoting nursery rhymes all evening - I have memorised hundreds
:) not because I have children... I just love them for their fun and
quotability in any situation.

However, the poem I would like to offer for the minstrels archive is not a
nursery rhyme, although it shares a similar structure. It is:

Chorus from 'The Bread-Knife Ballad'
by Robert William Service

  Please, Mother, don't stab Father with the bread-knife.
  Remember 'twas a gift when you were wed.
  But if you must stab Father with the bread-knife,
  Please, Mother, use another for the bread.

That is all I ever knew of this poem, and I think it stands brilliantly on
its own. Having been started on the path, I soon found the rest of the poem.
While it has nowhere near the strength of the chorus for memorability, I
have included it for the sake of completeness.

Michelle

[Martin adds]

Michelle's poem and commentary reminded me of Thackeray's "Sorrows of Werther"
[Poem #183], which, coincidentally, I'd originally read and memorised only the
last verse of. I agree with her that the chorus of today's poem stands on its
own very well, and is far more memorable than the poem-as-a-whole.

44 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

kamagra said...

It is pretty sad to read something like this.with a lot of implication. I would love to know Michelle Marie backgrounds to know more about this poem.

kamagra said...

What a disturbing poem, I simply love it so much, It teach me so much things seriously.

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