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August 23 in Pen Pal: songs children sing

On August 23, writing in her journal, Kaya recalls a traditional song repurposed as a children's taunt for games of chase:

I’m sending, sending, sending the Lady’s birds
To find, find, find what you have hid
They’ll seize, seize, seize your every secret
And pierce, pierce, pierce your many lies.
They’ll leave, leave, leave a burning ember
In the place, place, place of your coward heart
And fan, fan, fan the Lady’s fires
To flame, flame, flame in your fevered eyes

I love children's songs and rhymes--clapping games, jump rope rhymes, counting-out games, insults and retorts, all of it. I've posted about them before, but this time round, I'd like to link you to the handclap and jump rope rhymes page on the Cocojams website. The whole site is an excellent resource, and this page is loads of fun. For example, this rhyme, which developed after my childhood:

Momma momma can't you see
What the baby's done to me
Took away my MTV
Now I’m watching dumb Barney
Tic Tac Toe Three in a row
Barney got shot got shot by GI Joe
Who ever got stop get a bump in the head
And that is how the game will end

The site includes videos of kids playing the handclapping games:


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 23rd, 2014 04:38 pm (UTC)
Yay, children's songs and games! Also, I really love the world building in _Pen Pal_ and how you're writing about it day by day.
Aug. 24th, 2014 10:34 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm having a lot of fun.
Aug. 23rd, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC)
Tic Tac Toe Three in a row
Barney got shot got shot by GI Joe

I love how folk culture evolves.
Aug. 24th, 2014 10:34 am (UTC)
Me too! This same page has the "Mary Mack" song that I used to sing as a kid--but there was not Barney or MTV when I was a kid. Loved seeing how these new elements got incorporated.
Aug. 23rd, 2014 10:31 pm (UTC)
I love how those games reach not only down generations, but all through the world!
Aug. 24th, 2014 10:32 am (UTC)
I love that too!

I was really enjoying seeing how this particular song changed in different versions. The first version was "Mama mama, can't you see /What the army's done to me," sung to one of those army marching tunes. From "army" to "baby"---it works both ways. And although these hand-clapping songs are sung almost exclusively by girls, the "--what the army's done to me" is obviously harking back to, or imitating, or perhaps an actual army lament, which would have been sung primarily by boys/men. But women are the ones whose lives are wrecked (or at least thrown WAAAAAY off course) when an unplanned baby comes around at the wrong time, so that adaptation makes a lot of sense ... though when a seven-year-old or a ten-year-old is singing either verse, she's probably not thinking about that. I used to sing "K-I-S-S-I-N-G" without even realizing I was spelling anything, let alone what I was spelling.
Aug. 24th, 2014 01:36 pm (UTC)
I always knew what k-i-s-s-i-n-g spelled as I read before I went to kindergarten, and I was obsessive about understanding anything spelled, but did I comprehend what it meant? No. I thought the song was being silly about the peck that your grandmother would give you when visiting.
Aug. 23rd, 2014 11:38 pm (UTC)
Kaya's song could be a mega-hit. Maybe a country music mega-hit.
Aug. 24th, 2014 10:28 am (UTC)
Wouldn't that be excellent?

I have written a number of song lyrics. At one point, for about 25 minutes, I thought about trying to find a way of getting them connected with song singers (or at least tunesmiths), but it seemed like a byzantine business, so I quickly gave up.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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