Showing posts with label nonsense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nonsense. Show all posts

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I'm almost certain (unless my memory is playing me tricks) that my dear father, who was particularly fond of my young sister Anne Skyvington (a few years younger than Don and me), used to refer to her in cuddly terms as "my little Angie Divey" (spelling?) as if he were referring to his divine Angela. Dad was earwashed (radiophonic variant of "brainwashed") by the refrain of a silly song, composed in 1943, which sounded like this:
    Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
While hoping that my sister was in fact named for more noble reasons than this (which my genealogical research hasn't yet suggested, since there seem to be no Annes—or Donalds or Susans or Jillians, for that matter—among our recent ancestors), here's a plausible English transcription of these largely nonsensical words:
Mares [female horses] eat oats
And does [female deers] eat oats
And little ants eat ivy
A kid [baby goat] will eat ivy too
Wouldn't a ewe [baby sheep] (also eat ivy)?
That final line, of my invention, is highly conjectural. Maybe the poet was simply referring, in fact, to human kids. Was "ivy" maybe a US military slang term for something I haven't grasped? Here's a recent interpretation of this curious affair:

This morning, when I was pouring out doses of oats for my donkeys, and rejoicing in the fact that my dear Fitzroy seem to have got over a nasty four-day bout of diarrhea, I saw my dog diving into stuff I'd just thrown out as decomposable organic rubbish… and I found myself humming a crazy new stanza to the melody brought into my memory by the "donkey zotes":
Dogsey shit…
Meanwhile, I'm enlightened by a Google revelation concerning the existence of an old English nursery rhyme:
Cowzy tweet and sowzy tweet and liddle sharksy doisters
Nonsense—as our dear Mr Dodgson made clear—is good for you.