My mother-in-law brought up a few lines of this poem in the car yesterday and it suddenly occurred to me that I used to know it too. She was thrilled to hear the few additional lines I could remember on the spot, and then the most amazing thing started to happen. The more I thought about it, the more I recalled. The human brain is amazing! It has probably been close to 20 years since I said these words out loud, but here they were, surfacing from deep within my memory, like they were being created out of nothing. Every few minuets that passed would bring back more. Something would spark the thought wasn’t there something about a mosquito?, and then the line “Cross-eyed mosquitoes and bow-legged ants” was out of my mouth clear as a bell. It felt great to know that this cute little gem was buried away somewhere, but I don’t want to almost lose it again so I looked it up.
There are dozens of versions of the poem on-line, but none that fit exactly with the version in my head. That’s the beauty of things being handed down through spoken word; every time it changes and evolves. I can remember being taught this by a little girl in the school yard on a sunny windy day.
Here is my version of this silly poem, chalk full of oxymorons. I’m pretty sure this is all I ever knew of it, but who knows, maybe someday I’ll remember more.
Ladies and gentleman, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes and bow-legged ants.
I stand here before you to sit down beside you,
and tell you a story I know nothing about.
This coming Thursday, being Good Friday,
There’s a ladies night dinner, for gentlemen only.
Admission is free; you pay at the door,
Pull up a chair and sit on the floor.
One fine day, in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each-other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
and fell upstairs to shoot the two dead boys.
If you don’t believe me that this story is true,
Ask the blind man, he saw it too.