TCS: Rubber Duckie, Joy of Joys

Good Morning!

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Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers on Monday mornings.
This is an Open Thread forum, so if you have an off-topic opinion burning
a hole in your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

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Dealing with network executives is
like being nibbled to death by ducks.
– Eric Sevareid

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Today is Rubber Ducky Day. Since there’s only one great poem about Rubber Duckies, which is really a song from Sesame Street, I’ve cheated and added some poems and lyrics about ducks of the non-rubber variety.

I hope that ducks will make all of us smile on this winter Monday.

(Which is of course a summer Monday in the Southern Hemisphere)

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First up, a song about ducks from the delightful classic children’s book, The Wind in the Willows, written by Kenneth Grahame, and first published in 1908.

Duck’s Ditty

by Kenneth Grahame

All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all!

Ducks’ tails, drakes’ tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
Where the roach swim—
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!
We like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
Swifts whirl and call—
We are down a-dabbling
Up tails all!


Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) was born in Edinburgh Scotland, but spent his childhood in Inveraray, on the western shore of Loch Fyne, and in Cookham on the River Thames. From 1879 to 1908, he worked at the Bank of England. Upon his retirement, he, his wife and their son, Alastair, moved to Cookham.  His best-known book, The Wind in the Willows, began as bedtime stories for Alastair, who was called Mouse by his parents.  In addition to The Wind in the Willows, Grahame is known for The Golden Age, and The Reluctant Dragon.

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Don’t skip any lines, or you may miss the ducks in this poem.

Water Picture

by May Swenson

In the pond in the park
all things are doubled:
Long buildings hang and
wriggle gently. Chimneys
are bent legs bouncing
on clouds below. A flag
wags like a fishhook
down there in the sky.

The arched stone bridge
is an eye, with underlid
in the water. In its lens
dip crinkled heads with hats
that don’t fall off. Dogs go by,
barking on their backs.
A baby, taken to feed the
ducks, dangles upside-down,
a pink balloon for a buoy.

Treetops deploy a haze of
cherry bloom for roots,
where birds coast belly-up
in the glass bowl of a hill;
from its bottom a bunch
of peanut-munching children
is suspended by their
sneakers, waveringly.

A swan, with twin necks
forming the figure 3,
steers between two dimpled
towers doubled. Fondly
hissing, she kisses herself,
and all the scene is troubled:
water-windows splinter,
tree-limbs tangle, the bridge
folds like a fan.


“Water Picture” from Poems Old and New, © 1994 by the Estate of May Swenson –
Houghton Mifflin

May Swenson (1919-1989) was born in Logan Utah, an American poet and playwright; considered one of the most original poets of the 20th century.

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Edward Lear wrote about so many different animals, and often put together unlikely pairings – in this case, a duck and a kangaroo.

The Duck and the Kangaroo

by Edward Lear

I.

Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
‘Good gracious! how you hop!
Over the fields and the water too,
As if you never would stop!
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
And I long to go out in the world beyond!
I wish I could hop like you!’
Said the duck to the Kangaroo.

II.

‘Please give me a ride on your back!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
‘I would sit quite still, and say nothing but “Quack,”
The whole of the long day through!
And we’d go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,
Over the land and over the sea;–
Please take me a ride! O do!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

III.

Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,
‘This requires some little reflection;
Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck,
And there seems but one objection,
Which is, if you’ll let me speak so bold,
Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
And would probably give me the roo-
Matiz!’ said the Kangaroo.

IV.

Said the Duck ,’As I sate on the rocks,
I have thought over that completely,
And I bought four pairs of worsted socks
Which fit my web-feet neatly.
And to keep out the cold I’ve bought a cloak,
And every day a cigar I’ll smoke,
All to follow my own dear true
Love of a Kangaroo!’

V.

Said the Kangaroo,’I’m ready!
All in the moonlight pale;
But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady!
And quite at the end of my tail!’
So away they went with a hop and a bound,
And they hopped the whole world three times round;
And who so happy, — O who,
As the duck and the Kangaroo?


Edward Lear (1812–1888) was a sickly child, and suffered from health problems his entire life. But this Englishman was also a talented artist, and a prolific writer of witty “nonsense” verses. In 1846 he gathered together some of his limericks, and had them published with his own illustrations in A Book of Nonsense under the pseudonym Derry down Derry, his first success. It was followed by dozens of other books.

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This song by Jeff Moss was a surprise hit on the pop music charts after it was first performed on Sesame Street.

Rubber Duckie

song by Jeff Moss

Rubber duckie, you’re the one
You make bath time so much fun
Rubber duckie, I’m awfully fond of you

Rubber duckie, joy of joys
When I squeeze you, you make noise
Rubber duckie, you’re my very best friend, it’s true

Oh, every day when I make my way to the tubby
I find a little fellow that’s cute and yellow and chubby
Rub-a-dub-a-dubby

Rubber duckie, you’re so fine
And I’m lucky that you’re mine
Rubber duckie, I’m awfully fond of you

Oh, every day when I make my way to the tubby
I find a little fellow that’s cute and yellow and chubby
Rub-a-dub-a-dubby

Rubber duckie, you’re so fine
And I’m lucky that you’re mine
Rubber duckie, I’m awfully fond of
Rubber duckie, I’d like a whole pound of
Rubber duckie, I’m awfully fond of you



Jeff Moss (1942-1998) was the first head writer, composer and lyricist for Public Television’s Sesame Street. He was born in New York City. He started as a production assistant on Captain Kangaroo in 1963. He is credited with dreaming up Oscar the Grouch and the Cookie Monster. His work on Sesame Street garnered 14 Emmy awards.

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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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