June 15, 2016

Children’s Lit Issue – “Hey Diddle” a Poem by Betsy Pohlman

Children’s Lit Issue – “Hey Diddle” a Poem by Betsy Pohlman

Editor’s Note: This one’s just for the parents. Betsy’s poem takes the classic nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle” and puts a new, PG-13 twist on what the cat, dog, moon, dish and spoon may have been thinking that fateful night when so many fantastical events transpired.

* * *

Hey Diddle


hey diddle

(the dish thought)

what have we here –

you don’t see a leg like that anymore.

i want that to tap my well –

what a line, so classy.

i love a good party.


hey diddle

(the spoon thought)

here’s something –

lovely and round with wide hips and smile.

i want that to fill my bowl –

how sturdy, how fun.

i’m so glad i’m here.


these gigs suck crickets

(the cat thought)

the costume uncomfortable –

the grass wet on my paws.

“jolly fiddler,” my ass –

i can’t take this no more.

i’m gonna fire that manager.


i like this

(the dish thought)

the music is driving –

our dancing is fine.


i like this

(The spoon thought)

i’m ready for dazzle –

and this one is new.


there goes that cow again

(the moon thought)

such a show-off –

too proud of the trick.

i should demand a jump warning –

she’s got me unhinged.

i need a shrink.



i smell a mouse

(the cat thought)

nearby, underground –

maybe two.

no one would notice –

if I ditched this for dinner.

promises be damned.


i can’t believe it

(the dish thought)

the music stopped.

i’ll head for the woods.



(the spoon thought)

my lucky night.

i’ll run along too.


this is hysterical

(the dog thought)

so this is what happens in the night

while I lie sleeping.

who could have known –

what comedy there is.

in the darkness.


hey diddle!



* * *

1095017_10151882849461349_1016872705_nBetsy Pohlman is a medical anthropologist who studies social structures associated with the care and governance of people who are vulnerable due to illness or circumstance. She is developing her writing craft at the Writer’s Studio in San Francisco and resides in Oakland, California.

Fictional Cafe logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *