The Early Years: Jack-O’-Lantern

A while back my parents sent me a big package full of old school papers and such, whence I got the, um, amazing space battle drawing that I posted a few weeks ago. Reaching into this package today, I discovered this small exercise in giant block-letter printing, in which the moon has what may be an overly familiar relationship with a pumpkin:





I don’t know the origin of this little poem, although I’m quite sure I didn’t make it up myself.  I have written some stories in which pumpkins or jack-o’-lanterns figure prominently (notably “You“) but my later jack-o’-lanterns are nothing like this innocuous little fellow — unless perhaps, after the poem ended, it detached itself from the post and started roaming around the town eating trick-or-treaters (to the horror or delight of the moon, depending on whether the moon was benign or malevolent).  That does sound more like something I would have come up with, doesn’t it?

UPDATE 3/16/2009:

My thanks to Jennifer at the Happy Pit Bull blog, who identified this poem.  See her comment below.  Here is the full text of the original version of the poem from the link that she provided:

The man in the moon looked down on the field
Where the golden pumpkin lay,
He winked at him and he blinked at him
In the funniest kind of a way.

The pumpkin was yellow and fat and round
And as funny as he could be
But strange was his case for he had no face
So he couldn’t smile back, you see.

But on All Hallowe’en, when the moon looked down
From the sky, through the shadows dim,
The pumpkin fat on a gate-post sat,
And saucily laughed at him.

— Anna C. Ayer

4 thoughts on “The Early Years: Jack-O’-Lantern

  1. I’ve heard this poem! Here it is. You will not believe this, but my grandma owns this particular book (complete with green clothy cover and ancient library smell) and I used to read it when I visited her house.

    Jim says: That is very cool — I Googled for it before posting but I couldn’t find it. I was wondering if anyone would be able to identify it. Thanks so much!


  2. I guess I’m kind of glad you *didn’t* write this yourself, at such a tender age. We would have had to worry about you a little bit, if so.

    Very nice handwriting, though. I think the “A-” was a bit churlish, personally…


  3. I taught my Grade 2’s this poem in the ’60’s. It was an exercise in choral speaking — only did the first and third verses.


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