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Charlotte Bleh’s Collection of Favourite  Nursery  Rhymes, Poems and Prose Book
Six B's - P's and Q's

Times for P’s and Rhymes for Q’s

A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw, The less he spoke:
The less he spoke, The more he heard.
Now, why can’t we be like that wise old bird?
(A favourite of Old Granny from Scotland)


Come when you’re called.
Do as you’re bid:
Shut doors behind you,
And never be chid.


Goosey, Goosey Gander,
Whither didst thou wander?
Upstairs and downstairs,
And in my lady’s chamber.
Goosey, Goosey Gander,
Whatever didst thou do there?
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg,
And threw him down the stairs.


If wishes were horses,
Then beggars would ride;
If turnips were watches,
I’d wear one by my side.
(from Great Granny McIntosh from Scotland)


See a pin, and pick it up,
All that day you’ll have good luck;
See and pin and let it lie,
Sure you’ll want before you die.
(Another favourite from Great Granny McIntosh from Scotland)


If if’s and and’s
Were pots and pans,
There’d be no need for tinkers.


Three children sliding on the ice,
Upon a summer’s day,
As it fell out, they all fell in,
The rest they ran away.

Now had these children been at home,
Or sliding on dry ground,
Ten thousand pounds to one penny
They had not all been drowned.

You parents all that children have,
And you that have got none,
If you would have them safe abroad,
Pray keep them safe at home.


I would if I could,
But I can’t.
(and Great Granny McIntosh’s answer –
Canna’s winna’s brither!)


For every evil under the sun,
There is a remedy, or there is none.
If there be one, try and find it;
If there be none, never mind it.


Here lies our sovereign lord the King, (Charles II)
Whose word no man relies on,
Who never said a foolish thing
And never did a wise one.


For want of a nail, the shoe was lost,
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost,
For want of a horse, the rider was lost,
For want of a rider, the battle was lost,
For want of a battle, the Kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.


It fell about the Martinmas time,
And a gay time it was then,
When our goodwife has puddings to make,
And she’s boiled them in the pan.

The wind sae cauld blew south and north,
And blew into the floor;
Quoth our Goodman to our Goodwife,
”Get up and bar the door.”

“My hand is in my husssyfkap,
Goodman, as ye may see;
An’ it shouldna’ be barred this hundred year
It’ll no’ be barred by me.”

They made a pact between them twa,
They made it firm and sure,
That the first word whae’er should speak,
Should rise and bar the door.

Then by there came two gentlemen,
At twelve o’clock at night,
And they could neither see house nor hall,
Nor coal nor candle-light.

“Now whether is this a rich man’s house,
Or whether is it a poor?”
But ne’er a word wad ane o’ them speak,
For barring of the door.

And first they ate the white puddings,
And then they ate the black.
Tho’ muckle thought the goodwife to hersel’,
Yet ne’er a word she spake.

Then said the one unto the other,
“Here, man, tak ye my knife;
Do ye tak  aff the auld man’s beard,
And I’ll kiss the goodwife.”

“But there’s nae water in the hoose,
And what shall we do than?”
“What ails ye at the pudding-broo,
That boils into the pan?” 

O up and then started our Goodman,
An angry man was he;
“Will ye kiss my wife before my e’en,
And sca’d me wi’ pudding-bree?”

Then up and started our Goodwife,
Gied three skips on the floor;
“Goodman, you’ve spoken the foremost word!
Get up and bar the door!”             

(Old Granny from Scotland really liked these oatmeal “puddings.”)


All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.
And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.
Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.
And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part.
The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans staste, sans everything.

William Shakespeare
As You Like It

(This was one of my early competition pieces,
maybe around the age of 12, I think.  It really influenced
me as I began to think about the meaning of life, in an optimistic way,
and the philosophy of stages in our lives has stayed with me ever since.)


A child should always say what’s true,
And speak when she is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at table -
At least as far as she is able.

Robert Louis Stevenson
A Child’s Garden of Verses


At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter’s camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Til it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear Land of Story-books.

Robert Louis Stevenson
A Child’s Garden of Verses


The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson


He serves best this world of ours
Who serves his little family well,
Who gives the utmost of his powers
To those who toil with him and dwell.

Who keeps his wife and children gay,
His house a dwelling place for mirth,
And scatters kindness on the way
Does noblest service on the earth.

The greatest work that man can do
Is, after all is said and done,
To be a father, kind and true,
In this the greatest glory’s won.

Edgar Allen Guest


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

(Langston Hughes)


When I hear the old men
Telling of heroes,
Telling of great deeds
Of ancient days,

When I hear that telling
Then I think within me
I too am one of these.

When I hear the people
Praising great ones,
Then I know that I too
Shall be esteemed,
I too when my time comes
Shall do mightily.

Mary Austin


For these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive,
May the Lord make us truly thankful.

(John Bleh’s family Grace)


The Lord is good to me,
And so I’ll thank the Lord
For the sun, the moon, and the apple tree –
The Lord is good to me.

(We would sing this as a “campfire” song at the
Harris Academy Girl Guide Company and at Guide
Camp before our meals.  Girl Guide camp is the place
where the older girls taught me the meaning of every
swear word ever created – didn’t get a badge for that, though!)


A few thoughts from my Granny –

It’s never lost what a freend gets;
There’s nae freend like an auld freend;
There’s nae fuil like an auld fuil.


When John lived wi’ his mither he was unco ill tae please:
He’d find faut wi’ an auld hen lest her chickens chance to sneeze.
His mate had aye tae be the best “nae inings in the stew,”
Or if there was, his nose wad gang an inch abune his broo.

He dearly lo’ed a bonny lass, her face was fresh and fair:
John thocht if she was willin’ they’d mak’ a happy pair.
So he gently popped the question, in a kindly sort o’ way.
She said she’d be agreeable if he’d fix the happy day.

Puir man, he didna ken her, though her face was fresh and fair:
Her haun’s they werena’ made tae wark – she couldna wash a stair.
Though she’d been at a cookery class, she couldna’ bake a scone,
But this I’ll gie her credit for, she fairly cookit John.

The first time she made parritch, she made them wi’oot saut:
And for the first time in his life, John never found a faut.
Had this been in his mither’s hoose, words wud ha’e ga’en high,
But John, like mony anither man, was ating humble pie.

Young man, aye in yer mither’s hoose, tak this advice frae me:
Be share yer wings are lang enough afore ye try tae flee.
Think weel afore ye tak’ a wife – be share she’s no’ a drone,
Or else ye’ll turn oot tae be anither Grumbling John.


Granma sent the hammock.
The good Lord sent the breeze.
I’m here to do the swinging –
Now, who’s gonna move the trees?

Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic


When the light is green you go.
When the light is red you stop.
But what do you do
When the light turns blue
With orange and lavender spots?

Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic


I remember I put on my socks.
I remember I put on my shoes.
I remember I put on my tie
That was painted
In beautiful purples and blues.
I remember I put on my coat
To look perfectly grand at the dance,
Yet I feel there is something
I may have forgot –
What is it?  What is it?

Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic


I’ll take the dream I had last night
And put it in my freezer,
So someday long and far away
When I’m an old grey geezer,
I’ll take it out and thaw it out,
This lovely dream I’ve frozen,
And boil it up and sit me down
And dip my old cold toes in.

Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic


God says to me with kind of a smile,
“Hey how would you like to be God awhile
And steer the world?”
“Okay,” says I, “I’ll give it a try.
Where do I set?
How much do I get?
What time is lunch?
When can I quit?”
“Give me back that wheel,” says God,
“I don’t think you’re quite ready yet.”

Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic


I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

Shel Silverstein,  Where the Sidewalk Ends


Standing on my elbow
With my finger in my ear,
Biting on a dandelion,
And humming kind of queer
While I watched a yellow caterpillar
Creeping up my wrist,
I leaned on a tree
And I said to me,
“Why am I doing this?”

Shel Silverstein,  Where the Sidewalk Ends


Oh I am a chickie who lives in an egg,
But I will not hatch, I will not hatch.
The hens they all cackle, the roosters all beg,
But I will not hatch, I will not hatch.
For I hear all the talk of pollution and war
As the people all shout and the airplanes roar,
So I’m staying in here where it’s safe and it’s warm,

Shel Silverstein,, Where the Sidewalk Ends.


Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the little old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.

Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic


“Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
These were the words of Mary Hume
At her seventh birthday party,
Looking ‘round the ribboned room.
“This table cloth is pink not white
Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

“Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
These were the words of grown-up Mary
Talking about her handsome beau,
The one she wasn’t gonna marry.
“Squeezes me a bit too tight –
Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

“Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
These were the words of ol’ Miss Hume
Teaching in the seventh grade,
Grading papers in the gloom
Late at night up in her room.
“They never cross their t’s just right –
Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

Ninety-eight the day she died
Complainin’ ‘bout the spotless floor.
People shook their heads and sighed,
“Guess that she’ll like heaven more.”
Up went her soul on feathered wings,
Out the door, up out of sight.
Another voice from heaven came –
Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

Shel Silverstein   A Light in the Attic


I’ll share your toys, I’ll share your money,
I’ll share your toast, I’ll share your honey,
I’ll share your milk and your cookies too –
The hard part’s sharing mine with you.

Shel Silverstein  Falling Up


A happier man you could never be,
I had a mother who read to me.


Please remember  - don’t forget –
Never leave the bathroom wet
Nor leave the soap still in the water
That’s a thing we never oughter.
Nor leave the towels about the floor,
Nor keep the bath an hour or more
When other folks are wanting one –
Please don’t forget - It isn’t done!

Mabel Lucie Atwell

(When I was growing up I saw this little illustrated bathroom verse in shops and friends’ homes.  I really wanted one.  So, this was a major “memory” for me as part of my “bottom drawer” collection when I prepared to marry John Bleh and leave Scotland in 1965.  It has hung in our bathroom, in our many homes, ever since.)



The Quotes Page

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.

(Life’s Little Instruction Calendar,  Saturday, April 10, 1998 – I still have this on my bulletin board!)

 In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
Life is a journey, not a destination.

Albert Camus, 1913-1960

(I came across this when during my first full quarter at Butte College, Oroville, California, shortly after John died and I was studying existential literature from this wonderful English teacher who had studied at Dublin University, Ireland.  I still have my papers from that class which I think I used more as a philosophy than an English class as I tried to “find myself” in my new kind of life.)

Treat people as if they were what they should be,
and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832

 We confide in our strength, without boasting of it;
we respect that of others, without fearing it.

Thomas Jefferson

 Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill,
That we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship,
Support any friend, oppose any foe
To assure the survival and the success of liberty.

President John F. Kennedy

 On this day we ask Almighty God to watch over our nation,
and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come

President George W. Bush,
National Day of Prayer and Remembrance,
September 14, 2001


All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten.  Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School.  These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and
sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.  Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup:  the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.  So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you
learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

 Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.  The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.  Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm.  Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap.  Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Robert Fulghum
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
(This is for Xochitl, Adriana, Edie, Nathan, and Mrs. Huff, their Kindergarten Teacher
at Chaparral Elementary, Phoenix, Az,)

And a little adaptation from Church . . .

All I Need to Know I learned in Primary

I am a child of God
Believe in Christ
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
Choose the right
Where love is, there God is also
Cleanliness is next to Godliness
Forgive and Forget
Give Oh Give
Listen to the still small voice
Count your many blessings
Do the things the Lord commands
Honor your father and mother
Dare to be true
Kindness begins with me
Families are forever
Search, ponder and pray
Listen to the prophet’s voice
Jesus said love everyone
When you are helping you are happy
Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers
There is beauty all around
Reverently and quietly pray
Sunday is special
Do your duties with a heart full of song
My body is a temple
Heavenly Father loves me

Precepts Member Collection, 1996


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me:
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 23
Holy Bible, King James VI Version


Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth, faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

First Corinthians, Chapter 13.
Holy Bible, King James VI Version
(Another elocution performance piece)

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