Sunday, July 1, 2012


I wish I were a little rock a sittin’ on a hill
A doin’ nothin’ all day long, but just a sittin’ still.
I wouldn’t eat. I wouldn’t sleep. I wouldn’t even wash.
I’d sit and sit a thousand years, and rest, myself, by Gosh!
~ Anonymous


  1. Yeah, but animals would crap on you...

  2. Perhaps, Kurt, but being a rock, you wouldn't care.

    That, I think, may be the point of the silly little rhyme.

    My mother discovered it in a newspaper back in the 1930's, clipped it out, and kept the yellowed under the glass top of her vanity able for decades until finally one day it crumbled into dust.

    Mother used to quote it and we'd chuckle most every time some unwanted "challenge" came our family's way.

    I'm glad Mother had a taste for whimsy. It's stood me in good stead all my life. Though it pays no bills, and cures no ills, looking at events through the prism of affectionate humor does a great deal to ease the pain –– and for me it's been a pleasant way to stay in touch with my Mom, even though she died thirty-years ago last February.

    "Little things [really can] mean a lot."

    Have a Happy Sunday!

    ~ FreeThinke

  3. Hey, where do get all the fantastic artwork you put up?
    Your words are pretty sappy, but this bog looks really good.


  4. I wish I was a mole in the ground
    Yes, I wish I was a mole in the ground
    If I'se a mole in the ground,
    I'd root that mountain down
    And I wish I was a mole in the ground

    --- American traditional folk song

  5. And who might the "folk" who dreamt up that little ditty have been, Ducky?

    The Molly McGuires, perchance?

    Seriously, where did you find it? The not-so-subtly menacing tone cloaked in quasi-childish rhetoric intrigues me.

    Or maybe it's just a naive little takeoff on Handel:

    "Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight and the rough places plain," and all that?

    ~ FreeThinke

  6. Unfamiliar with that little poem.

    Odd that we're talking about rocks today.

    I took Mr. AOW on a drive to see the damage. All around this area, one can find some of the rocks from my paternal grandmother's rock garden (Flint Hill). When the property was sold upon her death, people came to scoop up those rocks -- some boulders, really. They show up everywhere in Oakton, Virginia, and the nearby area. Just today, I spotted two near the nursing home where Mr. AOW stayed for those 5 weeks back in 2009. I'd driven past them many times, of course, but had never noticed them before.

    One house not too far from us has one of the boulder's from Grandma's rock garden -- and the boulder has a little brass sign in front of it, a sign acknowledging the origin of the white boulder. Grandma has been gone for over 50 years now.

  7. Speaking of rocks (well, somewhat speaking of rocks)....

    Remember the song "The White Cliffs of Dover"?

    There are many references to those white cliffs in literature and pop culture:

    In the 1991 film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner, the cliffs are the landing point of Robin of Locksley's water craft; a welcoming sign of home for the returning prisoner of war.

    In Matthew Arnold's 1867 poem "Dover Beach", the cliffs are a sign of reassuring strength.

    Rudyard Kipling's 1902 poem, "The Broken Men", ends with the lines, "How stands the old Lord Warden? Are Dover's cliffs still white?", to represent the English exiles' homesickness.

    In Ian Fleming's third James Bond novel, Moonraker, a chapter is set at the cliffs. The villain attempts to assassinate Bond and Gala Brand by bombing the cliff so they are showered in debris.

    Jamaica Kincaid references the white cliffs of Dover in her essay, "On Seeing England for the First Time."[4]

    Blur Song: Clover over Dover

    Other poetry includes Alice Duer Miller's "The White Cliffs", on which the 1944 film The White Cliffs of Dover was based.

    In Shakespeare's King Lear, Gloucester, blinded and despairing, asks to be led to the edge of the cliffs of Dover.

    The cliffs were referenced in the popular World War II song "(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover". The song was originally performed by Vera Lynn and has been covered by many artists.

    The cliffs were referenced in the song, "Many Rivers to Cross" by reggae artist Jimmy Cliff. The song was featured on the album The Harder They Come, which was a soundtrack for the film of the same name.

    On the 2005 album Picaresque by the Decemberists, the cliffs are the setting for a suicide pact in the ballad "We Both Go Down Together".

    In 2010, girl group Girls Can't Catch filmed their music video for "Echo" on top of the cliffs.

    Grammy Award-winning guitarist Eric Johnson's critically acclaimed, platinum-selling 1990 recording, Ah Via Musicom, produced the single "Cliffs of Dover (song)", for which Johnson won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

    Last term in British literature, we went over the Arnold and Kipling works mentioned above because the Cliffs of Dover were also referenced in John Milton's Paradise Lost, required reading last year for that particular literature class.

  8. Freethinker, it's on the Anthology.

    The version recorded is Bascom Lamar Lundsford's. Very powerful song in my opinion (Title: Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground).

    "If you gave me a choice between The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Anthology, I'd take the Anthology.
    --- John Fahey

    The Anthology of American Folk Music
    available from the Smithsonian. Too much to mention although Frank Hutchinson's take on the Titanic disaster may be the nastiest song ever recorded plus a seminal technical slide guitar piece.

  9. Thanks to both AOW and Ducky for all the references.

    You might be surprised to know I'm a believer in "Folk Wisdom," Ducky, –– at least it was before the Master Baiters and Master Manipulators took command of the means of mass communication and polluted everyone's thinking with pernicious poppycock.

    AOW, did you just happen to know all that stuff bout the white cliffs of Dover, or did you find it at Google?

    I'm not 100% sure about Dickens' novel, itself, but the movie version of David Copperfield with Freddy Bartholomew, Edna May Oliver, Basil Rathbone, W. C. Fields, Lionel Barrymore and a host of others equally great in their roles perched Aunt Betsy's house where David, the boy, took refuge at the top and near the edge of those same white cliffs.

    I've been to England twice for an extended stay, and regret to say I never got to see the cliffs. But, I had a most marvelous time anyway. The whole country is like a series of illustrations in a magnificent old book come to life -- at least it was in 1981 –– the last time I saw our Mother Country.

    God knows what it's like today now that they've gone multicultural and have started to mongrelize the race with infusions of dark foreign blood fiercely incompatible with naturally evolved British and Celtic folkways.

    If you'd like another term to describe the times in which we are trapped, about try this:

    The Age of Ethnic and Cultural Bastardization

    ~ FreeThinke

  10. Ducky, do you know if those songs are posted on YouTube? I'd like to hear them.

    ~ FT

  11. most are in public domain and posted on youtube.

    Mole in the Ground

    Couple others

    The Old Weird America

  12. Fascinating, Ducky!

    Lundsford's singing is reminiscent of Burl Ives -- or maybe it's really the other way 'round?

    I'd heard of John Jacob Niles, of course, but never before of Lundsford.

    I love the banjo accompaniment. I guess he was playing as well as singing?

    Thanks very much. Folks songs have a limited appeal for me, because they are so repetitious and tend to be monodynamic, but THIS has an aura of authenticity about it that makes it intriguing.

    ~ FT

  13. FT,
    I happen to know a lot about Dover. We did a "mini unit" on Dover last school term in the British Literature course that I was teaching at the time. A sort of tangent, but it worked out well.

    I did use Google to get the link(s).

  14. Thank Heaven for Google. It helps make us all look like geniuses, AOW.

    Ducky's references on American Folk Music are really interesting.

    Much liturgical music and many symphonic made use of indigenous folk material.

    Nothing like "the uncouth, vocal utterance of the people" to help spice up our days, eh?

    I put that phrase in quotation marks, because that's how the Encyclopaedia Britannica defines "folk song" –– or at least Anna Russell certainly claimed it did, I have to admit I never checked.

    Anna was the funniest person I've ever known bar none, but you had to be musical and knowledgeable about music to appreciate her fully.

    Her parodies of the folksong genre are priceless.

    An example:

    I gave my love a cherry
    Without any pit.
    My love gave me a golden ring ––
    And a pair of shoes that didn't fit!

    He's in a foggy, fogy dew.
    I'm in a dewy fog.
    The way my lover treateth me
    Shouldn't happen to a dog!

    ~ FreeThinke

  15. Yeah, FT, it was definitely the other way round. Lunsford was old school long before Ives.

    He's playing a Vega Whyte Ladye clawhammer style. Fairly good player but no Charlie Poole.

    There;s a raw beauty in folk and American folk music is something we did absolutely spot on right.

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  23. My grandfather recited this poem all throughout my life, we had it printed and framed for his memorial.

    1. Grandfather Bob Simpson? I only guess because your post is on his birthday and what would be the odds?

  24. I have this saying on a picture and it was dated 1916.What year was it written. It must not rain where this rock was because he wouldn't even wash.

  25. Couldn't remember all the words. Thanks! As a little girl late 40's early 50's when I was lonely and afraid, that poem was in a frame on the wall. I cried as I read. Got me through those years. No shrinks in those days. Have tried to find complete poem. Don't ever forget.....different things make children survive. Not all get hugs and kisses. Thanks again!

  26. I memorized this little poem before I could read by others telling me what it said. From a cross stitch hanging on the family's summer cabin in northern Minnesota. And remember it to this day. Along with "This is the house that Jack built"!

  27. It is 2018 and as I here folding laundry,this poem came to mind. I remembered I learned this poem 30 years ago. It was taught to me by a patient. quite a sweet lady. she left a lasting impression on me. I decided to look it up to find the name of the writer.



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