I can find no trace of the poem / ditty printed below. I am not the author, and I am unable to find out who is / was. Many years ago, when I was probably around the age of 6 or 7 (i.e. in the 1940s – yes, that’s right, during WWII ), I learnt this poem by heart and delivered it to an audience at a Yorkshire chapel concert – presumably to demonstrate my skills in memorised recitation. Well … it certainly wasn’t to showcase a budding poet! Although I don’t recall being sensitive at the time about the cannibalistic sentiments expressed, I do now see the poem as somewhat ‘non-PC’ and quite unsuitable for directing a child to commit such verses to heart and then expound them in public.
. . . and Yes, I have never forgotten these verses, the dramatic emphases within the poems structure, or the subtle cadence of its rhythms (!!!). So . . . make of it what you will, but I would certainly be interested if anyone can throw light on its origins and/or its creator! . . .
. . . I remember being instructed to “pause before delivering the last line … and then say it quickly and loudly – with emphasis!” . . . What artistry !!!
If I had my wish
I would be a small fish
And swim where nobody could catch me.
I never would look
At a worm on a hook,
Or some naughty boy then might snatch me.
I’d frolic and play
With the fishes all day,
And not go to school at nine-thirty.
I’d not give a bean
If my neck wasn’t clean,
Or if BOTH my ears should get dirty.
And when I had died,
I should like to be fried,
With the bones taken out of my tummy,
And served, if you please,
With some lovely green peas,
… and then eaten up by my mummy!