[Poetry Friday] Helen’s and Henry’s Poems

poetry friday

Fats here.

It’s been a while since I joined the poetry-loving community so I’m glad to be able to share a few verses with you today. Yay! Poetry Friday round-up is hosted this week by Robyn Campbell.

The first set of verses actually came from a book I finished reading last month as part of my reading goal for Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge. One of the categories included in the challenge was a book written by someone before the age of 25. Helen Oyeyemi was 19 years old when she wrote her debut novel, The Icarus Girl. The story revolves around Jessamy “Jess” Harrison, the eight-year-old child of an English father and a Nigerian mother. Unable to adjust properly in school, Jess goes on a trip to Nigeria with her parents to meet her mother’s side of the family. In Nigeria, she befriends a ragged little girl who calls herself “Tilly Tilly.” The two girls become inseparable until disturbing things start to happen. I decided to read this book because it was inspired by Nigerian mythology. The narrative tone reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, only darker, creepier, and more… well, disturbing.


The following lines were taken from the book, giving you an idea of what Jess was dealing with in the story. Photo and design by Tove Jessica Frank (“Burlesque Twins”). Text added by me, via Fotor editing. Click the image to enlarge the text.


This other poem I’m sharing is called “There Was a Little Girl” and was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It’s a perfect companion to the excerpt above, methinks. Oil on canvas painting by artist, Ania Tomicka (“Far from home”). Text added by me, via Fotor editing. Click the image to enlarge the text.


Fats is the Assistant Manager for Circulation Services at the Wayne County Public Library in Wooster, Ohio. She considers herself a reader of all sorts, although she needs to work on her non-fiction reading. Fats likes a good mystery but is not too fond of thrillers. She takes book hoarding seriously and enjoys collecting bookmarks and tote bags. When she is not reading, Fats likes to shop pet apparel for her cat Penny (who absolutely loathes it).

7 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Helen’s and Henry’s Poems

  1. Very nice, Fats! 🙂


  2. That does sound creepy and disturbing! Good for Halloween? I am impressed that that author was only 19!


  3. The Longfellow poem was often quoted to me as a child. I can’t imagine why!


  4. The Icarus Girl sounds like a wonderful read – thanks for sharing this, Fats.


  5. Robyn Campbell

    Oh wow. There Was a Little Girl nursery rhyme is one of my favorites. I have read it since i was a young. I am always amazed at his sense of rhythm. Love the art you added to it.


  6. maryleehahn

    Fascinating pairing!


  7. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] On Reading Challenges and Ami Polonsky’s Gracefully Grayson | Gathering Books

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