A few weeks ago I chanced to pass an antique store in country NSW called Darcy’s Old Wares. I spent the best part of an hour wandering through their many aisles stacked to the brim of aged furniture, toys, appliances, accessories, books, records, when I stumbled across a Sydney-based womens magazine from November 1934 for the bargain price of $5.

Amongst the cheesy romantic fiction, countless recipes for jam, scones & broth, passé adverts for Aeroplane jelly, Bushells tea & haemorrhoid cream, and dated eccentric humour (my favourite joke, although a little morbid, was one that went: “If you please, Mrs Brown, Johnnie’s cap is in the pond.” “Then where is Johnnie?!” asked Mrs Brown. “If you please, he’s under the cap!”), I stumbled across a rather cheerful column entitled:


Vegetable marrow

In a previous edition of the magazine, a competition was run where the children of Australia were asked to create a poem about vegetable marrow and mail it in – the grand prize being nationwide publication of the best verses.

I thought the winning entries were so astonishingly innocent yet freakin’ hilarious that I just had to transcribe them for all to see!! So here, I present to you the very best of vegetable marrow poetry, straight from the inkwells & quills of 1930’s Australian youth:


Plenty Of Time

Mr Marrow, why not be gay,
On this lovely sunny day?
Mother said you have no need to worry,
For to eat you we are in no hurry.

 – Frances Collins (aged 14), Wodonga, Victoria


His Reply

A vegetable marrow was seated on a barrow,
In a pool nearby he studied his reflection.
“And,” said the marrow to a perky little sparrow,
“It’s my taste, not my looks, that’s my perfection.”

– Peggy Rowe, Cunnamulla, Queensland


Full Of Mischief

A vegetable marrow in a market basket lay,
His head was full of mischief as he jolted on his way;
He bumped into the carrots, he pinched the onions’ toes,
He knocked a pretty lettuce flat and pulled a cauli’s nose!

– Frank Barnes (aged 10), Casino, NSW


Unlucky Move

This is the tale of a vegetable marrow
Who left his bed for a grocer’s barrow,
From there to the saucepan was just a short step-
And the family ate him with relish and “pep!”

– Lynne McGeorge (aged 9), Quilpie, Queensland


No Hope!

“Of hope,” signed the marrow,
“There isn’t a glimmer,
For to-morrow my owner
Will have me for dinner!”

– Clare Lee (aged 15), Nanango, Queensland


Billy’s Task

Ugh! I don’t like marrow, Peter Pan,
Although I try to eat a spoonful if I can.
If I thought it would bring a Merit Card to me,
I’d eat a bowl of it for tea!

– Billy Howard (aged 9), Fairfield, NSW


Not A Dream

I saw a berry, a full yard long,
And plump, with a skin a golden yellow, and strong
As iron, to resist attacks of thrush and sparrow-
A nightmare? No! A vegetable marrow!

– Daphne Corbitt, Ashburton, New Zealand


Thought It Funny!

A vegetable marrow was in a show,
He fell upon a fat man’s toe
And laughed, “Ha, ha! He, ha! Ho, ho!”

– Victor Campbell (aged 9), Deniliquin, NSW


White Sauce

Oh! vegetable marrow, sweet vegetable marrow,
How beautiful you look to me,
But I like you best when you’re dressed
In white sauce for my tea!

– Betty Shaw (aged 12), Brisbane, Queensland


Unwelcome Gift

A vegetable marrow was once sent
To “Monty,” the Office Cat;
“Monty” turned up his snub little nose
And said, “The idea of that!”

– Grace Wilcox (aged 14), Canowindra, NSW


Very Tasty

A vegetable marrow is a wonderful dish
If you cut it in halves and cook it like this:
Scoop out the middle, fill with peas and minced steak,
Pop in the oven and for half an hour bake

– Edmund Howard (aged 12), Fairfield, NSW


? ? ?

We once grew a vegetable marrow,
It was much to big for my barrow.
Dad cut it in two, and this is quite true-
It was still too big for my barrow!

– Terry Davis (aged 9), Mittagong, NSW



LOLLL how awesome are they! I wish I knew of them 3 years ago when I worked at Abel & Cole, I’d love to have shared them with customers who ordered a butternut squash from me 😉

Of course, I couldn’t go past the opportunity to write a poem myself:

“The vegetable marrow’s a mighty fine food-
I like it a lot” said the bumpkin.
“It’s long and it’s green and it’s tasty when chewed,
It’s very much like a thin pumpkin”

Go on, you know you want to give it a try yourself – you’re more than welcome to leave your own vegetable marrow rhymes in the comments section below!

* Coleman’s mustard
* Lincolnshire sausage
* The slow food market by the Embankment… mmm spit roast hog, garlic hummus and pigeon!
* Eating organically
* Rachel’s organic Greek style yoghurt with honey, and the Coconut yoghurt as well
* Puccino’s hot chocolate
* Jaffa cakes
* Chocolate that tastes ever so slightly different to Australian chocolate
* Digestives
* (The innocence of originally thinking that Digestives were tablets to help relieve indigestion)
* Yorkshire puddings
* Toad in the hole
* Fish & chips on the Brighton pier on cold winter days
* Mushy peas
* Proper steak & ale pies
* Authentic cave-matured Cheddar cheese
* Breakfast fry-ups
* Ploughman’s lunch
* Walkers Builders Breakfast crisps
* The word “crisps”
* Proper cups of tea (without sugar)
* Tea cosies
* Going out to folk music nights
* Countless amounts of gigs by well-known acts every night in London
* Australian acts who tour Britain and who are greeted with the rapturous support and applause of us expats
* The incredible assortment of theatre, comedy and musicals on nightly display throughout the city
* Locally-owned pubs built on atmosphere
* Historic and unique pubs
* The Tooting Tram & Social
* The Selkirk
* The fact that hardly any pubs have pokies
* Supermarkets that sell alcohol
* Off licences
* Guinness that actually tastes like Guinness should
* Real ale
* PINTS of beer as opposed to those pathetic little “pots” that us Aussies drink!
* Being able to fly to Europe for 20 quid
* Collecting stamps in my passport
* The red circle with the blue line
* Tube station advertisements
* Studying the tube map trying to work out which route will get me home the quickest
* Choosing random stops to get off at and explore, ie. Maida Vale and Ealing Broadway
* Oyster cards
* Night buses home from Brixton
* Cycling through Thornton Heath, Norbury, Streatham, Tooting & Colliers Wood on the way to work
* The massively long escalators at Angel
* Northern Line train carriages
* Coal miners with erections (you had to be there to understand!)
* Double decker buses
* Tube station buskers
* People slagging off Gordon Brown and Boris Johnson in the newspapers
* The Metro, The London Paper and The Evening Standard
* (but not the London Lite, that’s just shite!)
* Page Three girls
* Inquisitive dogs on trains
* Squirrels
* Urban foxes
* Mole hills
* Friendly Wandle Path street cats
* Wild blackberries
* Playing pool, table tennis and guitar on lunch breaks
* Hanging out with Team Six Nations and the rest of the A&C folk every day
* Staff bags
* Team snacks
* Cold, drizzly, overcast weather
* Snow
* Conservatories
* Regional accents
* People telling me that I’m losing my Australian accent
* People mistaking me for a Kiwi or South African
* Making fun of the Welsh just like we make fun of the Kiwi’s 🙂
* The M25
* The fact that motorways are referred to by number rather than name
* Rows of terraced houses
* Independently owned boutique high street stores
* Robbie Williams
* Take That
* Top Gear
* QI
* Cash In The Attic
* The Apprentice
* Jeremy Kyle
* Simon Amstell
* Dara O’Briain
* Susan Boyle
* Dave
* The BBC
* Castles
* Cathedrals
* Actually wanting to walk into a church to marvel at its history and architecture
* Church cemeteries
* Being nine hours behind
* Dyson air blades in airport bathrooms
* Heated towel racks
* The lady who reads the O2 voicemail message
* The lushness of the Wimbledon Common
* The deer within Richmond Park
* Microchipped bank cards
* Not having to select Cheque, Savings or Credit every time I make a transaction with my bank card
* Not being charged for every transaction you make at a cashpoint that is not owned by your specific bank
* The word “cashpoint”
* The word “innit”
* “You alright?”
* The museum quarters at South Kensington
* Hearing about people’s suggestions for places to visit
* Heading out to random towns and villages on the weekend
* The hilarity of Brighton “beach” that doesn’t actually possess any sand
* Boston & Stickney
* Edinburgh… my favourite place in the entire world
* Hanging out with Jess 🙂
* The British postcode system
* Toilets with levers instead of buttons
* The homeless girl in Thornton Heath who keeps asking me for 36p
* The fact that the school year begins in September
* Electric showers
* The bulky but cute three-pronged electrical plugs/sockets
* Camden and Portobello Markets
* Rough Trade Records on Talbot St nearby Portobello Market… the best record store ever
* The music shops on Denmark St
* Incredible, historical architecture
* Red telephone boxes and post boxes
* Bobbies
* Big Ben
* Leicester Square
* The Thames
* The endless fascination with the Royal Family
* British people in general
* The Union Jack
* God Save The Queen

* 1p and 2p coins
* Living in Thornton Heath

The end!

The meal you thought was undercooked
Reacting cruel, the waitress took
An earful of your outlook
Don’t piss off the chef

She nonchalantly heeds your wish
Returns once more with fresh-cooked dish
Disguised saliva as garnish
Don’t piss off the chef

You think you triumph with your tone
Of insolence, but unbeknown
To you, your shared testosterone
Renders you acutely prone
To karmic fire and brimstone
From those empolyed behind the zone
Next time garnish: acetone

© 2008 Daniel Schaumann