In the last days

“In The Last Days” Photograph by John de Gruyther

In a feature, I have imaginatively called “Poem of The Week”, I hope to share with you my favourite poems. I am not a literary critic so I will not try to analyse them but just let the verses speak for themselves.

I believe a poem is intensely personal to each individual and whilst it is interesting to know what motivated the author, I think it is much better to just feel the words.

This week I have chosen Us Two by A.A. Milne, this is a poem I read to my wife on our wedding day and yes, I admit it, I cried.

Reading the adventures of Pooh reminds me that I have lost that ineffable essence of childhood adventures, even though I still cling on to a sense of what it is to be young through my own children. I find the stories of Pooh tinged with melancholy, the bear that will never grow up and the young boy who inevitably will. We all have to experience the pains of getting older and living in the real world and everything that goes with it, but Pooh never will. But even though Christopher Robin will see war and suffering he will always hold that wonderful place full of friends and innocence in his heart, and he will always have Pooh.

This post might strike you as a little bit sad but I do not mean it that way because whilst reading Pooh sometimes makes me maudlin it also makes me indescribably happy and it makes me laugh. It makes me realise that whilst it is about the inevitability of growing up and growing away from our childhood it is also about friendship and love and if we could all find our “Inner Pooh Bear” a bit more often the world would be a better place.

Us Two by A.A. Milne
Illustration by E.H. Shepard

Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,

There’s always Pooh and Me.

Whatever I do, he wants to do,

“Where are you going today?” says Pooh:

“Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too.

Let’s go together,” says Pooh, says he.

“Let’s go together,” says Pooh.

“What’s twice eleven?” I said to Pooh.

(“Twice what?” said Pooh to Me.)

“I think it ought to be twenty-two.”

“Just what I think myself,” said Pooh.

“It wasn’t an easy sum to do,

But that’s what it is,” said Pooh, said he.

“That’s what it is,” said Pooh.

“Let’s look for dragons,” I said to Pooh.

“Yes, let’s,” said Pooh to Me.

We crossed the river and found a few –

“Yes, those are dragons all right,” said Pooh.

“As soon as I saw their beaks I knew.

That’s what they are,” said Pooh, said he.

“That’s what they are,” said Pooh.

“Let’s frighten the dragons,” I said to Pooh.

“That’s right,” said Pooh to Me.

“I’m not afraid,” I said to Pooh,

And I held his paw and I shouted “Shoo!

Silly old dragons!” – and off they flew.

“I wasn’t afraid,” said Pooh, said he,

“I’m never afraid with you.”

So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,

There’s always Pooh and Me.

“What would I do?” I said to Pooh,

“If it wasn’t for you,” and Pooh said: “True,

It isn’t much fun for One, but Two,

Can stick together, says Pooh, says he.

“That’s how it is,” says Pooh.

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