Poetry by A.A. Milne for Sick Kids & Their Grown-ups!

Phtheezles May Even Ensue

This month I offer up a poem by A.A. Milne, of Pooh fame, that’s about being sick (or pretending to be), which a lot us can probably relate to right now. It’s also terrifically fun to say out loud.

I don’t know about your kids, but mine are especially prone to what I call “repetition and variation” finding a word or a sound that feels good to say, and then repeating that word, and endless variations of that word, until I think my head will explode.

But this kind of word play is exactly what kids need to develop their cognitive and creative chops, so I try to wait until the riff—because that’s what it is, right?—has run its course before I request, oh-so-politely, that we enjoy a little silence, too.

It’s a long poem, and may have to be learned in parts, but I bet your kids will be pretty good at getting it down. And if somebody in your house is stuck in bed with the flu, maybe reading this to them will provide a little distraction: “Sneezles” by A.A. Milne

SNEEZLES
By A.A. Milne

Christopher Robin
Had wheezles
And sneezles,
They bundled him
Into
His bed.

They gave him what goes
With a cold in the nose,
And some more for a cold
In the head.

They wondered
If wheezles
Could turn
Into measles,
If sneezles
Would turn
Into mumps;
They examined his chest
For a rash,
and the rest
Of his body for swellings and lumps.

They sent for some doctors
In sneezles
And wheezles
To tell them what ought
To be done.

All sorts of conditions
Of famous physicians
Came hurrying round
At a run.

They all made a note
Of the state of his throat,
They asked if he suffered from thirst;
They asked if the sneezles
Came after the wheezles,
Or if the first sneezle
Came first.

They said, “If you teazle
A sneezle
Or wheezle,
A measle
May easily grow.

But humour or pleazle
The wheezle
Or sneezle,
The measle
Will certainly go.”

They expounded the reazles
For sneezles
And wheezles,
The manner of measles
When new.

They said, “If he freezles
In draughts and in breezles,
Then PHTHEEZLES
May even ensue.”

Christopher Robin
Got up in the morning,
The sneezles had vanished away.

And the look in his eye
Seemed to say to the sky,
“Now, how to amuse them today?”

From The Complete Poems Of Winnie-The-Pooh


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Dryansky

Amy’s the mother of two children who seem to enjoy poetry, for which she’s extremely grateful. Her first book, How I Got Lost So Close To Home, was published by Alice James Books and poems have appeared in a variety of anthologies and journals. She’s a former Associate at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center at Mt. Holyoke College, where she looked at the impact of motherhood on the work of women poets. In addition to her life as a poet, Dryansky works for a land trust, teaches in at Hampshire College, leads workshops in the community and writes about what it’s like to navigate the territory of mother/poet/worker at her blog, Pokey Mama. Her second book, Grass Whistle, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2013.

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