Saturday, July 14, 2012

A boy went to war in 1914, and left his bike chained to a tree.  
He never got home, and his family left the bike by the tree in his memory. 
This is that tree today.
Little Boy Blue

The little toy dog is covered with dust.
   But sturdy and stanch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
   And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
   And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
   Kissed them and put them there.
"Now, don't you go till I come," he said,
   "And don't you make any noise!"
So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
   He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
   Awakened our Little Boy Blue ––
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
   But the little toy friends are true!
Ay,  faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
    Each in the same old place 
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
   The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
    In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
   Since he kissed them and put them there.
~ Eugene Field (1850-1895) 


  1. Great picture, that bicycle that grew into the tree.

  2. FT,
    The story was new to me, and I do know a lot about WW1 as my great uncle served in the trenches.

    I knew the Eugene Field poem, of course. I think that the private school I attended covered that poem.

  3. The picture came via email, and it immediately suggested Little Boy Blue –– a poem often criticized by "modernists" as being contrived and overly sentimental to which I hadn't given a thought in many years.

    Personally, Eugene Field's famous little poem never fails to bring tears.

    We've all lost someone precious to us. The temptation to cling to reminders of their living presence can be very great.

    I kept Brown Betsy -- the only female Teddy Bear, who ever lived as far as I know -- for decades after I grew up. I would have her still if some workman hadn't stolen her when I wasn't looking.

    Apparently, she had "antique value," since she had been handed down to me from two previous generations. Her monetary value would never have induced me to part with her. It took theft to do that.

    A small loss, perhaps, but still significant -- to me.

    "The little toy dog is covered with dust ...
    The little toy soldier is red with rust ..."

    ~ FreeThinke

  4. FJ, I like the gentle sound of acoustical instruments played well, and even Ms. Merchant's quiet musing delivery in an admittedly limited vocal range, but -- to me -- there's a lulling monotony in most of this quasi-folk genre that limits its appeal -- to me.

    When it comes to song, I much prefer the selections from J.S. Bach's Little Notebook for Anna Magdalena, the few lieder penned by Mozart, and the great contributions to the art song literature made by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc, DuParc, Reynaldo Hahn and Hugo Wolf.

    These are brilliant, multi-faceted gems and each contains whole worlds of joy, sorrow, compassion, humor, grief and ecstasy.

    I'm sorry but what has tended to be popular in the past fifty years doesn't have sufficient power to transport me to realms of wonder and delight.

    What you offer here, however, has a soothing quality that at least stops it from being offensive. But to me it -- and most very example of the genre sound mournful if not downright self-pitying.

    Be that as it may, "whatever floats your boat," is all right with me. That's why we have chocolate and vanilla -- and all those other flavors conjured up by Howard johnson and Baskin & Robbins and a host of their imitators.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    ~ FreeThinke

  5. In other words, let the sh*t dissappear down the toilet and try not to think about it. Embrace the pleasant ideology, don't fight it.

  6. btw- Transitional objects will always be more valuable fetishes to those making transitions than those for whom there is no setimental attachment.

  7. The parents of Little Boy Blue, for another...



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