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:
Fun with the 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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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!