3 Nursery Rhymes That Say More Than We Think They Do

My son, Kabir, and I read nursery rhymes every night before going to bed. It is the best time of the day for me, I look forward to it every day.  He knows many of them by heart and reads them to us, and I read a few for him, with changing voices and dictions; it is quite fun.

Many of them are pretty catchy, and if you are reading them daily, you will find yourself singing through the day, even when the kids are not around. Apart from them being catchy, I feel, they have hidden messages too.

Here are three poems which make me feel particularly so.

1) Little Bo-Peep Lost Her Sheep

“Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep, 

And doesn’t know where to find them;

Leave them alone, and they will come home,

Bringing their tails behind them.

So many times in life you feel been taken for granted by your loved ones, your wayward friends, cousins, relatives, colleagues. Just leave them alone, let them face the music for sometime, and they will realise your worth.

It works with tantrums too. When Kabir goes a bit too far, I simply let him be. It can be hard, especially when his mother and I have different views on this. But, I have noticed, it works – his tantrum time with me is comparatively less. He starts and realises pretty soon that it ain’t going to work, and just comes around.

An illustration for Little Bo Peep.

2) Solomon Grundy Was Born On a Monday

Now, the rhyme is too long for me to type the whole thing. But, I am sure you know it well.

If you notice, it says he married on Wednesday, took ill on Thursday and by Saturday he was dead. You won’t find anything else between marriage and being buried. That says a lot about marriage, huh?

3) I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell

“I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,

The reason why I cannot tell;

But this I know, and know full well,

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

This one evokes maximum laughter in Kabir  – those last words fell and tell – he just cracks up as soon as he hears them, and to be honest I wait the entire day to read this to him and hear him laugh. And this communicates a lot of meaning to me.

How many times in life have you been that Doctor Fell? Whether you realised it or not?

I have surely been ‘him’ many times in life – trying very hard to be liked – by parents, cousins, friends, school teachers, professors, bosses, wife, child and the list continues. And yet, you end up realising some of them, do not like you, either some of the times or most of the time.

When you go back and ask them, why do they not like you? The response is, “I cannot tell you the reason,” or they give you a haphazard reason (which might be valid for them), and you convince yourself that it was indeed your fault.

Then, like a dog chasing its tail, you go round and round in circles to rectify your ‘mistake’ only to come back to this”

“I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,

…. this I know, and know full well”

When someone knows something full well, it is hard to convince them in any other way. Isn’t that so? Realising this itself is so liberating, I can’t express it in words.

As we hit 2020, I want you to know that we all end up being Doctor Fell from time to time. Whatever you do, or you don’t, there will be some people out there who will not like you. And that’s alright, stop chasing them this new year, and be yourself. Love what you do – sing, dance, paint, sleep, garden or whatever makes you happy.

I was watching a TEDxCambridge talk by Toni Luciani – a mother and son’s photographic journey through dementia. It ended with two very powerful lines, “make time meaningful. Life is about wanting to live, and not waiting to die.”

Featured image for representative purpose only.
Featured image source: pxfuel.
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