A few months ago, I became obsessed with retrieving (n.b. "retrouver") a book that was read aloud to me in highschool french class. All I could remember was "un petit, d'un petit." In years past, the only way to find this book would be to ask librarians, or troll through musty bookstores and brave the personalities of their interesting, but often eccentric musty owners. When I was in college in the 80's, I tried to find an new copy of my scratched and cracked LP of french children's songs, and tried writing to catalog companies for information. But alas, without a relational database to query, it was impossible short of extraordinary luck, which I did not have at the time.
Fast forward to earlier this year, when all I had to do was google "y'avait un ane" and "le petit cordonnier" and I found that the album, "Songs in French for Children: Lucienne Vernay and Les Quatres Barbus" had been remastered in 2001 and was only about $5. I bought six of them for myself and my siblings and went merrily on my way. But my interest was piqued, and in short order (boy does this sound like someone writing for Better Homes and Gardens in 1958, but whatever, this is a naively sweet pro-nostalgia story and since normally I'm fairly cynical I'm just going to go with it), I found the book "Mots D'Heures: Gousses, Rames" and gave it to my daughter Purl for Easter. I'm a cruel parent. I gave her the book so that I could laugh at her for about ten minutes straight as she read over and over "Un petit d'un petit" and could not get the joke. I would not give her the answer to the riddle, and kept laughing through "Chacun Gille" and "Pis-terre, pis-terre" and "Lille beau pipe."
How is this relevant to "H is for Hamlet"? It is if you like to play with language and have fun with poetry. After we finished "Mot D'Heures: Gousses, Rames," I bought the companion book "N'Heures Souris Rames" and the distant-cousin companion book "Morder Guss Reims."
And then I got to having way too much time on my hands one weekend and started writing "Sans oeuf d'abeille t'elles" and quite possibly the companion books "Sans oeuf d'aout" and "Sans oeuf des reau lynx-est hones" (not sure about that one yet). My first pages are going to focus on those classics "Ai! Oane de aoule dior hane-de" and "Elle en aurique b'y." I'm quite excited.