Wednesday, June 1, 2005


By Louis F. Baum
Author of The Visitors from Oz, The Wogglebug Book, The Flying Girl, etc.

The original publication of this poem is unknown. Baum's use of the psuedonym "Louis F. Baum" (his name was Lyman Frank Baum) indicates that the poem dates from about the 1880s. Possibly it was published in the Aberdeen [South Dakota] Saturday Pioneer while Baum was the editor of that newspaper. However, if the poem's subject, Mr. Mann, refers to the composer Nathaniel D. Mann, who wrote some music for the 1903 Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz and collaborated with Baum on at least one other unproduced musical, that could indicate the poem could be dated as late as 1902 or even later, though that seems unlikely.

Mr. Mann was fat and jolly;
So he never thought it folly
When he rose and said, "By golly,
I've a notion what I'll do!"
"I'll go down and be a skater,
Quite a slick perambulator
On the rink I'll be, and cater
To the reigning fashion, too."

So unto the rink he rambled,
With the crowd for skates he scrambled,
Put them on, and slightly trembled
As he eyed the floor askance;
First a roll - and then a tumble!
Then ejaculations mumble -
Just as though a man should grumble
When he falls upon his pants!

Then, with a face as red and beaming
As a beacon - wisely deeming
'Twas regarded quite unseeming
To be sitting on the floor
Up he sprang, quite acrobatic,
And with feeling not ecstatic
Threw his toes up toward the attic -
And was seated as before.

"Now, by gum!" he said in wonder,
"How in Geddes - how in thunder
Shall I 'scape from this vile blunder
And regain my dignity!
See the girls all madly laughing!
How the fellows will be chaffing,
And at my expense by quaffing
Ten-cent drinks in heartless glee."

At the thought, up sprang he boldly,
And a yard quite neatly rolled he,
Then a crash! And he lay coldly,
Silently upon the floor.
Carefully they raised his mangled
Form, and from his throat untangled
Half a skate before he strangled -
Then away his form they bore.

* * * * *

Now our friend has an affair
Like a cushion filled with air,
Which he places on a chair,
And its softness eases pain.
But no more he's fat and jolly,
For his mind is melancholy
Ruminating on his folly
And he'll never skate again.


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, November 18, 1917.


As usual, any number of you answered the forgetful poet's riddles, so this time Mr. G. Ography, who has just returned from the war zone, has made you some which he is quite sure will be several huckleberries above your persimmon, whatever that means.

? ? ? ? ?

A word--to regret,
And a State plus two letters.
The ninth and the first
Feels the War Lord's iron fetters?

Ending the same,
Starting off with a word
Who's meaning is to wait,
Is a country--and a third.

If an oak tree had an elderly relation it would probably be a certain city in Syria?

Last week's answers were: A train is worn by a Queen and carried by a Page. Daniel Boone, Lewis Carrol and Sir Francis Drake.

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2005 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.