Three lenses

for studying forests:

The man in the wilderness
Said to me
”How many strawberries
Grow in the sea?”


I answered him
As I thought good,
”As many as red herrings
Swim in the wood.”

My mother said
I never should,
Play with the fairies
in the wood.
Down in the wood
the grass was green.
In came Sally
with a tambourine.


I came to a river
with no bridge to get across
I paid five shillings
for a blind white horse,
I jumped upon its back
and was off in a crack,
Sally, tell my mother
I am never coming back.


I went into the wood one day
And there I walked and lost my way

When it was so dark I could not see
A little creature came to me

He said if I would sing a song
The time would not be very long

But first I must let him hold my hand tight
Or else the wood would give me a fright

I sang a song, he let me go
But now I am home again there is nobody I know.

Stevie Smith





  1. vixen said

    There must be an infinite number of songs and tales like this. When I joined Flickr Eleni wrote a testimonial for me. It was this mysterious song:

    “I left my baby lying here,
    Lying here, lying here
    I left my baby lying here
    To go and gather blackberries.

    I found the wee brown otter’s track
    Otter’s track, otter’s track
    I found the wee brown otter’s track
    But ne’er a trace o’ my baby, O!”

    – – – – – –
    Nicely done your entry in colored boxes; figuring out how (How?) you did it. It matters (It matters?)

  2. Simon G said

    Thank you, vixen. Yes, it’s Mystery again. The seed of a-whole-nother story…

    As for the boxes, you know how you can just select and copy whole bits of web pages (this I learnt from you!), well I think I did that on another blog entry, and liked the box, so I copied it again and just put different text in.

    I daren’t edit it to see what the html is – it might just disappear…

  3. Simon G said

    You’ve got me interested now. I see that bgcolor=”#ffffe6″ is a background colour (+ test colour?)
    I’ve just experimented with changing the colours using
    But I really should be doing something else just now…

  4. Simon G said

    Looking at this html, there’s stuff in there that doesn’t do anything; it’s vestigial formating from how I had it in Word documents.

    And looking at my first reply, now I’m not sure if it was from you or El that I learnt the “just-copy-the-page” method? (Does it matter?²)

  5. vixen said

    you are very good at learning new languages!
    (esp. when there is no accent and pronunciation involved)

  6. Simon G said

    I’ve got a feeling you’re a lot better than me at this. And yes, accents and pronunciation – I am daily faced with my inadequacy. My excuse, not that it exists really, is that I was born in the heart of London and during my school years didn’t really believe I would know anyone from another country! With 2 billion people learning English, it is tempting not to try too hard!

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