I’ve already introduced you to Laura E. Richards, author of “Ballad of China”, https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/a-ballad-of-china/.  Here’s another of her poems, which I also read in one of our orange Childcraft books.  In these days of cell phones, children might not understand how the elephant could get his truck tangled in the phone, but they’ll enjoy the rhythms and rhymes.


Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant–
No! no! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone–
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.)
Howe’er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee–
(I fear I’d better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)

Laura had an interesting life and was the child of famous people.  You can read more about her at http://www.readseries.com/auth-oz/richardsbio.html.

Here’s the opening paragraph:

 Laura Elizabeth Richards was born February 27, 1850, at 74 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, Massachusetts, to distinguished parents and a home life that would early introduce her to the delights of language and fine arts as well as to a range of people and experiences. Her father, Samuel Gridley Howe, “a restless social reformer . . . [who] later gain[ed] fame as an abolitionist,”  was also “the practical founder … of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind” in 1832.  Howe’s star pupil — and Laura’s namesake — was Laura Bridgman, a child who had been left blind and deaf after a bout with scarlet fever at age two. When Bridgman was seven, Howe met her and brought her to Perkins, where she became the first blind and deaf person to learn language and “finger spell.” (Another Perkins student, Anne Sullivan, later taught Helen Keller.) Richards’s mother, the poet Julia Ward Howe, is perhaps best known as the author of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Laura was the youngest of four children: Julia, Florence (named for her godmother, Florence Nightingale), and Henry. A fifth child, Maud, was born a few years later, and a sixth, Sam, (who died of diptheria at age three), several years after.

  1. That’s really cute, I like it (ok I’m a dinosaur and I remember about the “telephunk” on phones ;o)

  2. Rawr. I’m so dinosaurian I still HAVE a telephunk plugged into the wall. The thing that amazes me is that Richards was born in 1850 and yet telephants became ordinary fast enough for her to expect that her readers would know what she was talking about…and the trunk-snaring kind stayed part of everyday life up to fifteen years ago or less.

    Anyway, this little poem is adorable.

  3. Now, that was fascinating!!!

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