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Lost quotations

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Someone's torn the curtain | 24-Oct-04

Someone's torn the curtain
And I think it must be me.
I climbed up to the window
And the curtain caught my knee.
And then it wrapped my foot up
And I heard a hole, you see.
Someone's sure to notice
'Cos it's bigly as can be.

They're coming, I can hear them
Up the stairs to have their tea.
I wish I was the bigly hole
And bigly hole was me.

38 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!


Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


Comments:

It's good to see this poem in full. I have performance of the verse sung by (I think) its author - a scottish poet who's name escapes me for the moment - that was why I searched on the phrase in Google I was hoping to the record with it on for Xmas.

As printed the text isn't quite right as the last line starts "and the bigly...etc"

If there's someone out there who can remind me who the poet/artist is I'd be most grateful.
Reg Vernon

The poem may have been sung by Ivor Cutler - the name 'rings a bell' but the 'voice' that I hear when I think of the performance that I recorded is not Ivor's voice, so the jury's still out. Sorry about the spelling mistakes in my first post . I hope you got the gist of it. I'm still hoping it will be in my Christmas stocking.
Reg Vernon

Sorry to have misled anyone else reading these messages but I can now say that the singer/author that I referred to earlier was definitely NOT Ivor Cutler - his style is too astringent and it's not his 'voice' that I hear when I recall this performance. I've looked among my tapes but still haven't found my recording of this. I'm hopeful that I shall do so. Meanwhile, I wonder of the BBC can help as I'm pretty sure that I heard on a programme, most possibly John Peel
Reg Vernon

more proof that the internet is a fantastic tool.i used to sing this when i was 7 .i thought my dad made it up so i to am serching for a recording of this song
terry nye

I never believed that it was for real
my father (terrys grandfather) sang it to me 63 years ago so it has to come from the victorian music hall as dad loved going to the theatre in Chatham and he was born in 1905
Mavis Nye

My mother used to recite this to me and it was in one of the children's books that I had as a child. It always comes to mid when I feel slightly guilty and think that I shall be found out!
David Barnicoat

I have this poem in an anthology called The Littlest One by Marion StJohn Adcock (Mrs Sidney H Webb), first published in 1914. The poem is called The Hole in the Curtain. The only chage in the words is... Auntie's sure to notice...and she's coming... rather than they're coming...
Catherine Elliot

I am sitting on the doorstep, eating bread and jam, I aren't a crying really but it feels as if I am. I am feeling rather lonely
Rosemary Holyoake

This poem/song was sung by Cyril Tawney. I do not think he recorded it but he used it at clubs around the country
Peter Green

Thanks to Peter Green for identifying the fact that the song that I remembered hearing was sung by Cyril Tawney. I took a look at the Cyril Tawney website and found a link to Rosemary Tawney, his widow. I wrote to her and she replied by sending me an mp3 of a recording of the song which Cyril called "The Biggley Hole". It was recorded live at a folk club in Castleton in 1975,76 or 77. Rosemary Tawney said "I remembered it because I have recently copied it on to the computer, having been sent the recordings some time ago. The text differs slightly from that on the Poetry Soc. website( Peter Green, who wrote the message is an old friend of Cyril's).
I don't have any clear recollection of Cyril broadcasting it, but there was so much going on in the 60s and 70s that it's difficult to remember details. I have no BBC prog recordings. My first thought was that it would most likely have been on the old Home Service, because Cyril was a staple on that, but your mention of John Peel makes me wonder if it may have been another DJ, Bob Harris (who is still broadcasting on R.2). He had a long-running late night series on R.2 /?Light Programme in the 60s/70s. He played Cyril's tracks frequently and I think Cyril did some live sessions for him, but I wouldn't swear to it. Unfortunately, the BBC has a poor record of retaining archive material.

I'm hoping that Mrs Tawney will consider posting the mp3 on My Space - it lasts 1' 31" and is well worth listening to. The music may have been that which was written for the poem by Ralph Dunstan for the re-issue of Mrs Sidney Webb's book in 1924 or it may have been original music written by Cyril himself.
I'm now going to have another look for my tape of the radio broadcast - one good turn deserves another.


Reg Vernon

To Rosemary Holyoake: Your lines :
I am sitting on the doorstep, eating bread and jam, I aren't a crying really but it feels as if I am. I am feeling rather lonely ............
Can you clarify what this comes from and give me more info about it please.
Lecia Foston

I am so HAPPY to find this poem ,my mother was a narrator of poems such as this but they were all in her head she never wrote them down, today would have been her birthday she died in 2002 in her 90th year but was a brilliant narrator of old poems often said in an old lancashire dialect , today when i awoke i thaught of the poem but could only remember part of it , so am pleased to find it .Barbara James. ne Regan
Barbara James

can anyone help me find the rest of this poem that my grandmother used to resite to me so i can pass it on to my children it starts of like this.
flossie an dossie were little twin girls with the bluest of eyes and the fairest of curls
please someone must know the rest it would make me so happy.
thanking you gail evans
gail evans

I used to recite this poem in the 30s when I was a little girl in Ireland. It came to my mind this morning but all I could remember was "I wish I was the bigly hole and the bigly hole was me." I didn't really expect to find it, but I Googled that phrase, and up came this site. Isn't the internet a wonderful tool? Thanks!
Joyce (McFarlane) Russell
Joyce Russell

I put a search in on google and found this, my father used to recite it to us, as his mother had recited it to him. My Grandmother was born in 1904. the only difference in this version is the 1st line of the second verse which he quoted as "Someone's coming"
Marian Hugill

Woke up in the middle of the night with bits of these poems from Marion Adcocks book in my head. I too had the anthology as a child, and would love to replace it. My favourite poem/song was "Down the bottom of the garden where the tree is split in two, grow the caterpillar grasses and I don't know what to do because I pulled the fuzzy head off one and put it up my sleeve and I am frikened its a really one and not a make believe....
can't remember the rest... can anyone help?
Pam Wisher

The Hole in The Curtain was written by Marion St John Webb and appeared in a book entitled The Littlest One after her poem of the same name. I have a copy dated 1914 which I found in a car boot sale after years of searching. I was so pleased that the stallholder let me have it for nothing!
maureen scott

My Dad used to recite a poem to my sister and I when we were very little.

Some of the words are:
"wake up wake up you sleepyhead.
Get up get up get out of bed."
Susan Darling

I am looking for the rest of the words to this poem:

A birdie with a yello bill,
Hopped upon the window sill;
Cocked a shiny eye and said.....
Susan Darling

A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon the window sill,
Cocked its shiny eye and said,
Aint you 'shamed you sleepy head?
Jenny Sanchez

Some of the words are:
"wake up wake up you sleepyhead.
Get up get up get out of bed."

This is a Shirley Temple song called Early Bird.

Good morning, good morning
Nature hums when morning comes along
Day's dawning, stop yawning
And begin to join me in my song

Early bird, up at break of day
Early bird, sing the dark away
Early birdies always catch a worm or two
So don't be late you've got a date
Your worm is awaiting you

Sleepy head, never see the sun
Stay a-beds, always miss the fun
Whistle in the morning
Send the worm a warning
Sleepy Head, tumble out of bed
Be a little early bird
Win n/a

I remember reciting this poem when I was in Infants School . It had a slightly different 2nd. verse "hush, I hear Auntie.
Bringing the tray for tea."
So there could be several versions.
Veronica Mason

Am thrilled to have found beginning of trail re The Littlest One. This was my all-time favourite as little girl in 1950s and was in a book that tragically got lost in a house move. It was thick, dark red, hardback and was an miscellany of stories and poems with impressive line illustrations by, I think, Arthur Rackham among others. I seem to remember it being called The Children's Everything Within or somesuch. Would love to have light shed on this book if anyone out there can do so???????
karin robinson

My Great Grandmother used to recite this poem when I was little. I can only remember the first line and would like to know how it goes.

'Flossy and Dossy were twin little girls'
Thelma Handley

All I know is that I was taught this poem when I was about four in 1939. It was my party piece and amused the family a lot.
John East

I cant begine to tell you how pleased I am to find this old poem. I am 74 years old, and my Mother used to frighten me with this. I typed in the first couple lines I could remember, and up popped the rest. Thank you I can now frighten my Grand children with it, and I hope they enjoy it as much as I used to do.
peter holcombe

Interesting comments..... I happen to have a copy of this adoring and beautiful book called "The Littlest One' by Marion St John Adcock. Published first impressions February 1914 and second impression August 1914 in hardcover and in very good condition including 4 coloured tipped-in plates.
Anny Kraal

I have the original 1914 book by Marion St John Webb "The littlest one in complete condition with all of these amazing poems. I will be pleased to fill in any blanks for anybody that would like to know.
Best regards.
Geoff.
Geoffrey Degg

I learned this poem at school and, for many years, have been trying to remember it all. I remembered the same phrase as Joyce Williams and, as she did, Googled them. I though the whole poem was a bit longer than this, but the years do play tricks on the memory, don't they!
Meriel Alliston


The Bigley Hole. I remember it was in a book called The Littlest One that was handed down to me by my mother. She had it as a child. Shame it went missing as it must have been a first edition given that Mum was born in 1917.
Steve Humphreys

This has made my day!! Found at last!!

In the year 19....... an Aunt bought me a small A5 book of poems. I am sure it was coloured grey but it had a cover on it.

Opposite the poem was a picture of a small boy on I believe a chaise longe looking up to the curtains where a large hole was quite visible.

Sadly the only 2 lines I could remember was ' I wish I was the
bigly hole, and the bigly hole was me.

I also remember reciting this poem in front of class c 1941 in order to gain house points.

Happy days............................

And if Geoffry Degg could send me a picture of the litte book I would be most grateful

There are some cracking comments!!


Alan Radford

The way i heard it it went.

Auntie's sure to notice
Cos it's bigly as can be.

I can hear her - coming
Up the stairs to have her tea!
etc
Cephas Lloyd

Please could someone forward the complete poem to me as I would love to share it with my children as my Grandmother did with me. Im hoping my Daughter may even like to use it for her English Speaking exam.
Tammy Alford

I would like the words to these pomes said by family at Christimas program "The Christmas Sleepy Head "also" My Say" also"The Four Teddy Bears" also"Iron Toys" also "The Christmas Tree" also My Crilppled Dolly also The Favorite Tree and It's Guine tell Old Santa I would love to have these if anyone knows them . The program was1932
Dorothy Miner

When I was evacuated during the war to Bonskied House in Perthshire, one of the girls, Inez Turoie, used to recite this poem but all I can remember is "I heard a hole you see" and "I wish I was the bigly hole and the bigly hole was me"
Doreen Plews

Line 6 should read:

And teared a hole, you see.

Just Me

I was in 2nd grade in 1957 when we learnt this for a school concert. I remember reciting it for my Grandmother. I am so happy I can prove to my disbelieving daughters that it is real!
Brian McManus

My mother knew this from her childhood, and she was born 1902. Her version had "For I climbed upon the window.........Oh hark, here's Mummy coming, upstairs to have her tea, O I do wish I was the bigly hole
John Bush


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