In 1977 my grandmother gave me a copy of Edward Lear's The Owl and The Pussy-Cat illustrated by Barbara Cooney. To my mind, it is the sweetest literary romance of all time. Romeo and Juliet have got nothing on these two. Jan Brett has a gorgeously illustrated version with a Caribbean setting. Back to my grandparents, the best Valentine's gift I ever received, the one that proved the giver really knew me, came from grandfather. One year while I was in college, he put a shiny red bow on a box of Entemann's Pecan Danish Ring. Bliss! Clearly, that's long gone. In fact, it was probably polished off within the first twenty minutes I was alone with it in my dorm room. So, I'll share the poem with you instead.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sand to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"
Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing
O let us be married! too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose
With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?" Said the Pig, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.