Wednesday, November 03, 2010

As I Was Crossing Boston Common!

Our book today is Norma Farber's delightful 1974 childrens classic As I Was Crossing Boston Common, and it tells the story – through nature-nerd specifics and Arnold Lobel's charming pen-work – of what is surely the most remarkable procession ever seen on good old Boston Common, the 50-acre 400-year-old public park at the heart of Boston.

The procession starts off slow and steady, in the Brahmin way: day has broken over the Common, the stately houses of Beacon Hill are visible along Beacon Street, and – fittingly – a tortoise is inching its way across the foot-path. Nothing unusual – nothing uncommon – in any of this.

But then a man shows up leading a train of miraculous animals, starting with an Angwantibo!

The procession proceeds through Boobook and Entellus and Galliwasp, as the citizens of Boston – in corsets and top-hats – turn out to watch in amazement.

The Hoopoe, it turns out, had an Isabelita in tow (in a bowl, with a spout – for the overflow), and the fish bowl pulled in tow a Jacare, to the wonderment of all:
I snapped a picture, to prove it was so.

And everyone said, “How uncommon!”

“Uncommon!” cried pigeon, squirrel, crow,

and sparrows lined up in a common row.

“Most uncommon!”

There was a Kiang and a Narwhale and a Sassaby and a Trogon, a Wapiti and a Yaguarudi, and at the very end, all tangled up in his own string, was the very fellow who started the day leading the procession! And round they went, and round, although:
the dusk of Boston began to glow.

The lamps gave light enough to show

the turn of events that was uncommon:

sweet and slow, a circular tow,

round as the moon that leaned to blow

its beams upon Boston Common.

1 comment:

jd said...

Oh to have this book back in print! I've only got the one copy, would love to give it out to others. Glad somebody else out there knows of its existence!