A Very Grand Affair by Andrew McLeod

Our friend, Andrew McLeod sent us his new puffin poem, thanks Andrew!

A Very Grand Affair

Mr. Puffin’s wedding
Was a very grand affair.
All his distant cousins
From the Hebrides were there.

Dressed in silk tuxedos
They arrived in single file,
Looking rather nervous
As they shuffled down the aisle.

Soon the bride herself arrived
Upon a seashell carriage,
Pulled by sixteen walruses
Who’d come to see the marriage.

Waiting at the pulpit
Was a dignified Great Auk.
He hushed the congregation
Then began to slowly talk.

‘Do you take this puffin
For your lawful, wedded wife?
To cherish and protect her
And to love her all your life?’

‘I do!’ cried Mr. Puffin
As he fumbled with the ring,
And weeping salty tears of joy
He slipped it on her wing.

‘I now pronounce you bird and wife!’
The Great Auk proudly said.
Many birds began to sniff
And several tears were shed.

The newlyweds’ reception
Was a wonderful success!
Everybody raved about
The bride’s exquisite dress.

The music was enchanting
And the seafood was divine.
Everybody helped themselves
To caviar and wine.

The razorbill was riotous
And danced a mad quadrille,
Balancing a glass of punch
And trying not to spill.

The gannet gobbled everything,
(Including several guests).
He tried to kiss a kittiwake
And made himself a pest.

The guillemot was garrulous
And told the same old tale,
About the time he hitched a ride
Upon a humpback whale.

Eventually the newlyweds
Got tired and went to bed.
‘Such a lovely couple!’
As the oystercatcher said.

Mr. Puffin’s wedding
Was a very grand affair.
All the birds attended,
Such a shame you weren’t there!

© Copyright Andrew MacLeod 2013

Goblinade by Florence Page Jaques

The lovely lady who wrote There Once Was A Puffin, Florence Page Jaques, also wrote a fun poem titled, A Goblinade, and I thought it worth sharing with all of you fans of her work.

A Goblinade by Florence Page Jaques

A green hobgoblin,
Small but quick,
Went out walking
With a black thorn stick.

He was full of mischief,
Full of glee,
He frightened all
That he could see.

He saw a little maiden
In a wood.
He looked as fierce
As a goblin shoulder.

He crept by the hedge row,
He said, “Boo!”
“Boo!” laughed the little girl,
“How are you?”

“What!” said the goblin,
“Aren’t you afraid?”
“I think you’re funny,”
Said the maid.

“Ha!” said the goblin,
Sitting down flat.
“You think I’m funny?
I don’t like that.

“I’m very frightening.
You should flee!”
“You’re cunning,” she said,
“As you can be!”

Then she laughed again,
And went away.
But the goblin stood there
All that day.

A beetle came by, and
“Well?” it said.
But the goblin only
Shook his head.

“For I am funny,”
He said to it.
“I thought I was alarming,
And I’m not a bit.

“If I’m amusing,”
He said to himself,
“I won’t be a goblin,
I’ll be an elf!

“For a goblin must be goblin
All the day,
But an elf need only
Dance and play.”

So the little green goblin
Became an elf.
And he dances all day,
And he likes himself.






There Once Was A Puffin (Update)

One of the readers favorite post has been the poem, There Once Was A Puffin by Florence Page Jaques and I have been determined to get a copy of the original printing of this poem. I have not gotten a hold of the very first printing in Child Life magazine, yet, because it has long since been out of publish. However, I did get my hands on a copy of one of the earlier books it was published in, The Big Golden Book of Poetry: 85 Childhood Favorites edited by Jane Werner, illustrated by Gertrude Elliott published in 1962 but originally published i n 1947. I scanned in some pages and the cover, for all you There Once Was A Puffin fans.  I hope you enjoy them!


The cover.





The actual page with illustrations.



The acknowledgements page where I found the original publishing information.



The acknowledgments of just this poem and another by Florence Page Jacques.

Earlier publications of “There Once Was A Puffin” have been located.  I will continue to search for the original publication in Child Life magazine and previous publications. A reader, Wendy, commented, “Marjorie Barrows who compiled “One Hundred Best Poems for Boys and Girls” was the editor of Child Life magazine.” She also noted that “the book is “One Hundred Best Poems for Boys and Girls” copyright 1930 published by Whitman Publishing Company of Racine Wisconsin.” Another reader, Jacquie, also confirmed hers was the same. Thanks everyone for helping get a timeline for this poem!

If any of you know how to get a hold of this, please do let me know.

The original poem and post are here.

Paterson the Puffin

Paterson the Puffin

(Copyright©Andrew MacLeod, 2011)

A Most Peculiar Bird

Paterson the Puffin

Was a most unusual bird.

Many of his friends agreed

His looks were quite absurd.

His plumage it was black and white,

His beak was red and yellow.

His feet were orange like a clown’s –

A most peculiar fellow!



Now puffins are ‘monogamous’,

(Which means they mate for life),

And Paterson was truly fond

Of his sweet puffin wife.



They lived upon a craggy isle

Beyond the western coast,

Where other seabirds often smiled

To hear his proud wife boast,

O Paterson my Paterson!

Sweet parrot of the sea!

You truly are the king of birds,

Fit for a queen like me!



Now Paterson could barely fly

And when he tried to land,

He’d either crash into the sea

Or bounce across the sand!

O Paterson my Paterson!

Proud master of the ocean!

You truly are magnificent,

Sheer poetry in motion!



The others laughed at Paterson

And when he tried to sing,

They’d cover up their ears and shout,

‘Good heavens! What a din!’

O Paterson my Paterson!

Sweet songbird of delight!

Sing a song of love for me

Beneath the stars tonight!



His dancing it was clumsy

And he capered like a goon!

His orange feet they flipped and flopped

Beneath the silv’ry moon.

O Paterson my Paterson!

Sweet prince of the Atlantic!

Your really are quite elegant,

And hopelessly romantic!



But he could dive beneath the waves

And dance amongst the fishes.

He caught a dozen for his wife

Who found them quite delicious!

O Paterson my Paterson!

Sweet emperor of me!

Such lovely gifts you bring me

From the bottom of the sea!


Andrew MacLeod is an english teacher from Glasgow, Scotland. “Paterson the Puffin” is part of a larger body of work about Scottish wildlife in general, entitled ‘Thistledown and Birdsong’.  Andrew shared his poem with us to share with all of you. Thank you Andrew!

The Brum and the Oologist by Britain’s Punch

This abridged 1891 poem from Britain’s Punch, a satirical magazine, takes a swipe at oologists (egg collectors).

The “Brum” and the Oologist
Were walking hand in hand;
They grinned to see so many birds
On cliff, and rock, and sand.
“If we could only get their eggs,”
Said they, “It would be grand.”

“Oh, Sea-birds,” said the Midland man,
“Let’s take a pleasant walk!
Perhaps among you we may fine
The Great—or lesser—Auk;
And you might possibly enjoy
A scientific talk.”

The skuas and the cormorants,
And all the puffin clan,
The stormy petrels, gulls, and terns,
They hopped, and skipped, and ran
With very injudicious speed
To join that oily man.

“The time has come,” remarked the Brum,
“For ‘talking without tears’
Of birds unhappily extinct,
Yet known in former years;
And how much cash an egg will fetch
In Naturalistic spheres.”

“But not our eggs!” replied the birds,
Feeling a little hot.
“You surely would not rob our nests
After this pleasant trot?”
The Midland man said nothing but, —
“I guess he’s cleared the lot!”

“Well!” said that bland Oologist,
“We’ve had a lot of fun.
Next year, perhaps, these Shetland birds
We’ll visit—with a gun;
When—as we’ve taken all their eggs —
There’ll probably be none!”

Before The Puffin Swam (poem) by Eric Ratcliffe

Before The Puffin Swam

Long, long ago, before the puffin swam,
neither sun nor sail bewildered those
who, simple in their sleep, walked to a day
of golden trees and apples in the air,
and quiet tilted villages.

The men flailed and the women wove
and when the eyes of heaven closed
they rested by fin-fairy fires
and watched the smoke climb upright to the stars.

Here the peace of an eternal autumn passed,
still leaves endured, and for the steeple doves
time kissed lightly underneath the moon;
the stones of ancient masons sang
the pale language of the livng dead,
the wall-chants of the spirit of the race
who left his talismans at eventide
lonely in the grey home shade.

Here lay the axe, once sun-slanted and crossed
before ripe muscles on a summer morning
and the old stones sing back two thousand years
to the skin-belted body which turned inthe sun,
and twisted and struck, one lever of flesh
at the tree on the forest floor.

Only the blue flints know of the heavy dead
fibre-bare in the deep midnight earth,
under the dumb centuries of cloven hooves,
and of souls’ last kisses before they fled
like shadows on the arms of some star-white god.

Forever beneath the high moon clouds
the red-haired cattle stray,
meeting and passing like porcelain
upon a waxen way.

Sires of their sires by hecatomb
had writhed beneath the sun;
some new man-woman would bleed
the calves of their calves by gun.
And one dozen paces from their skulls
would meet in temples on the shale
– with hassocks at their feet.

Eric Ratcliffe

Pondering a Puffin (poem) by Brian A. Hartford

Pondering a Puffin

by Brian A. Hartford

What a strange product of Nature,

the Puffin, is to what I refer.

Large orange beaked,

attached to a small head.

The body isn’t much of which to

black plumage, and not much more.

What miracle that such a design,

will support such a structure.

The white breast,

orange webbed feet,

such a clownish appearance.

The eyes highlight the costume,

small dots in a white feather field.

Is this costume for camouflage or,

for a darker spirit?

In Nature, it is not wise to guess,

it is uniqueness.

Fisherman by design,

to swim natural as it’s flight.

A source of amasement to me,

sheer joy to know he exists.

He returns to the cliffs of his

guards the nest.

protecting his unborn from the snare,

hazard of being a gastronomic

What a joy to know the puffin,

It is good to know he exists.

I am amused to think that,

the joke is on me.


Puffin (poem) by Suellen Wedmore


Underwater, a premier danseur,
his turns a blur,
his orange feet steer

through the orchestra
of seaweed and tide,
this sea parrot, this clown

of the Atlantic, harlequin-billed
with jester’s eyes;
take one for your own

and the dance of life
takes a turn. The one I choose,

is on his fifth mate,
despite the fact that puffins
are monogamous: no guilt

on Eastern Egg Rock!
What’s important
is the burrow

lined with grass and sticks,
that he was seen
approaching the nest

with a half dozen fish in his bill.
While his wings spin
like a windmill at sea,

on land he hops awkwardly
across rocks, wings tucked
under the tail of his tuxedo.

In spring, he’s genius
of the thermals,
the sun whispers stage directions,

gravity reveals its secrets
as he flies toward his island
without map or compass
from far across the sea.

— Suellen Wedmore

There Once Was A Puffin…

There Once Was a Puffin

Oh, there once was a Puffin
Just the shape of a muffin,
And he lived on an island
In the bright blue sea!

He ate little fishes,
That were most delicious,
And he had them for supper
And he had them for tea.

But this poor little Puffin,
He couldn’t play nothin’,
For he hadn’t anybody
To play with at all.

So he sat on his island,
And he cried for awhile, and
He felt very lonely,
And he felt very small.

Then along came the fishes,
And they said, “If you wishes,
You can have us for playmates,
Instead of for tea!”

So they now play together,
In all sorts of weather,
And the Puffin eats pancakes,
Like you and like me.

by Florence Page Jaques

(This poem was previously published in Child Life magazine and then reprinted in The Big Golden Book Of Poetry by Jane Werner Watson (1947). I will continue to try to track down the original issue and year of Child Magazine this lovely poem appeared and report it when I do. Wendy, a reader, noted “Marjorie Barrows who compiled “One Hundred Best Poems for Boys and Girls” was the editor of Child Life magazine”. She also noted, “The book is “One Hundred Best Poems for Boys and Girls” copyright 1930 published by Whitman Publishing Company of Racine Wisconsin.”

I will continue to research when and where this poem was originally published. Perhaps Wendy has found it!

See this post for an update–with pictures from an earlier publishing of There Once Was A Puffin reprinted in, The Big Golden Book of Poetry by Jane Werner Watson (1947).