When I was a child, we had a set of World Book Encyclopaedias which had a matching set of books for children, called Childcraft, about all kinds of things. One of these was a collection of poetry, and I spent a lot of time reading and rereading this volume. Not only can I still picture it, but I can still smell that book whenever I think of it.
Anyway, there were many poems in that book which I loved, but possibly my absolute favourite was this one:
The Purple Cow
by Gelett Burgess
I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you, anyhow
I’d rather see than be one.
Why did this poem make me tingle? I suspect it was a combination of things – the absurdity, the ease with which I could remember it, and the illustration which accompanied it, a photo of a stunningly purple cow.
Apparently this poem, first published in 1895 went on to become the most quoted poem of the twentieth century. So obviously I wasn’t alone in loving this poem.