Rosa's Poetry Archives: A.A. Milne

Bad Sir Brian Botany

by A.A. Milne

Sir Brian had a battleaxe with great big knobs on.

He went among the villagers and blipped them on the head.

On Wednesday and on Saturday,

Especially on the latter day,

He called on all the cottages and this is what he said:

"I am Sir Brian!" (Ting-ling!)

"I am Sir Brian!" (Rat-tat!)

"I am Sir Brian,

"As bold as a lion!

"Take that, and that, and that!"

Sir Brian had a pair of boots with great big spurs on;.

A fighting pair of which he was particularly fond.

On Tuesday and on Friday,

Just to make the street look tidy,

He'd collect the passing villagers and kick them in the pond.

"I am Sir Brian!" (Sper-lash!)

"I am Sir Brian!" (Sper-losh!)

"I am Sir Brian,

"As bold as a Lion!

"Is anyone else for a wash?"

Sir Brian woke one morning and he couldn't find his battleaxe.

He walked into the village in his second pair of boots.

He had gone a hundred paces

When the street was full of faces

And the villagers were round him with ironical salutes.

"You are Sir Brian? My, my.

"You are Sir Brian? Dear, dear.

"You are Sir Brian

"As bold as a lion?

"Delighted to meet you here!"

Sir Brian went a journey and he found a lot of duckweed.

They pulled him out and dried him and they blipped him on the head.

They took him by the breeches

And they hurled him into ditches

And they pushed him under waterfalls and this is what they said:

"You are Sir Brian -- don't laugh!

"You are Sir Brian -- don't cry!

"You are Sir Brian

"As bold as a lion --

"Sir Brian the Lion, goodbye!"

Sir Brian struggled home again and chopped up his battleaxe.

Sir Brian took his fighting boots and threw them in the fire.

He is quite a different person

Now he hasn't got his spurs on,

And he goes about the village as B. Botany, Esquire.

"I am Sir Brian? Oh, no!

"I am Sir Brian? Who's he?

"I haven't any title, I'm Botany;

"Plain Mr. Botany (B.)"

for the Elevens


The Sun Has Got His Hat On

It's rare that I get to lift my head above the waters of hearth and home these days. In the past few weeks I've felt especially tethered to the house by the heat and Mother Hubbard-style pocketbook.
It's that time of year around here, that last gasp of a drought-filled and forest fire-riddled summer (tongue twister du jour). Which is all fine for the dry-farmed tomatoes, which just get juicier and sweeter the hotter and drier it gets. For me, not so much. My skin is librarian pale & I look like I belong on some misty moor somewhere, drinking tea out of a thermos and picking dead bracken out of my knee socks. Here in the SC mountains, when two weeks ago it reached 104 on my porch and we haven't had rain since the end of May, I can be found cowering indoors and administering lime Popsicles to sweating children. I can't even go out into the garden, it's too dispiriting. The tall stalks of my white Japanese anemones have a hangdog expression, and the Dutchman's Breeches (dicentra formosa) has gone all dry and crispy, which in garden parlance means dead. Most everything is still technically alive, thanks to drip hose irrigation, which is exempt from our County's water rationing, but since I can only overhead water before 10AM and after 6PM on Tuesdays and Saturdays the plants are looking fusty and cobwebby and the whole garden wants its face washed. I refuse to give in to the Red and White Sparkly Rocks School of drought-tolerant suburban landscaping, but if this continues, a foray into the world of California native bunch grasses might not be so far away. And what a desperate day that will be, I've never been able to get excited about bunch grasses.
But then the other night-most unexpectedly-the foggy marine layer's condensation turned into heavy mist, which turned into drip drip drop and soon it was barreling down, for the first time since the end of May. It was glorious.
Yesterday morning we woke up early and trundled G off for her first day of preschool, which we reached after a five minute walk through our sylvan burgh. The rain had softened the edges of everything, like my life suddenly filmed with a gauze filter. I felt on top of things, for the first time in a long time, walking with the Littles, G and H.
My heart flipped over to see little G, so eager and fearless in her ladybug raincoat and yellow boots. She was a bundle of four year-old inconsistencies, skipping valiantly ahead and then doubling back to clutch my hand, nervously: "Hold my hand, Mommy! A car is coming. Do they see us?" We were even early to school. Now that is a miracle.

So much has happened on our little street in the 13 years I've lived here, but this morning's Preschool Walk felt like a processional of sorts, a culmination of all the late night walks with friends, with B, the runaway balls chased down, the post office jaunts and creek walk expeditions....it is a dear place to me, and I guess being tethered to it is not so bad right now.
Current Happy Things
1. The Mistmantle Chronicles by M.L. McAllister thanks, Blessed! Man oh man, these are great!
2. the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde. Totally silly! 'The Eyre Affair' is the first. I'm on Book 5.
3. Sammy, my nephew-I got to meet him this weekend. Los Angeles is too far away!

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.