Mr. Nobody is definitely one of the most famous of all children’s poems. I always thought there was something a tad creepy about it, which is probably why it has stayed with me all these years.
It is a shining example of an unknown author that would find great acclaim if only we knew who he was!
I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody’s house!
There’s no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody
‘Tis he who always tears out books,
Who leaves the door ajar,
He pulls the buttons from our shirts,
And scatters pins afar;
That squeaking door will always squeak,
For prithee, don’t you see,
We leave the oiling to be done
By Mr. Nobody.
He puts damp wood upon the fire
That kettles cannot boil;
His are the feet that bring in the mud,
And all the carpets soil.
The papers always are mislaid;
Who had them last, but he?
There’s no one tosses them about
But Mr. Nobody.
The finger marks upon the door
By none of us are made;
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade.
The ink we never spill; the boots
That lying round you see
Are not our boots; they all belong
To Mr. Nobody.
Next is a superb offering from Robert Louis Stevenson, called My Shadow. Who hasn’t chased their playmate’s shadow and loudly taunt ‘I’m on your shadow!’ ? I still like to put my hands on my hips and say ‘Look, I’m Peter Pan!’ Ha!
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest things about him is the way he likes to
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.
He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Do YOU have a Mr. Nobody in your house? Do you still like to play with your shadow? Let us know in the comments!