To make a library
It takes two volumes
And a fire.
Two volumes and a fire,
The interest alone will do
If logs are few.
- Carolyn Wells (The Rest of My Life)
American poet and author Carolyn Wells (1862-1942) penned more than 170 books including her biography, The Rest of My Life. After leaving school she worked as a librarian in her hometown of Rahway, New York for twelve years until becoming sufficiently successful as a writer that she was able to resign to focus on her literary career. She started out writing poetry, humor and children's books, but soon gravitated towards mysteries, producing a great many, including more than 60 books in the Fleming Stone Detective series.
Today, she is probably best known for her humorous poems, including many lymericks, such as:
A tutor who tooted a flute
Tried to teach two young tooters to toot.
Said the two to the tutor:
"Is it harder to toot, or
To tutor two tooters to toot?"
The Arch Armadillo
There once was an arch Armadillo
Who built him a hut 'neath a willow;
He hadn't a bed
So he rested his head
On a young Porcupine for a pillow.
The Happy Hyena
There once was a happy Hyena
Who played on an old concertina.
He dressed very well,
And in his lapel
He carelessly stuck a verbena.
The Musical Carp
There once was a corpulent carp
Who wanted to play on a harp,
But to his chagrin
So short was his fin
That he couldn't reach up to C sharp.
The Smiling Shark
There was an old Shark with a smile
So broad you could see it a mile.
He said to his friends,
As he sewed up the ends,
"It was really too wide for the style."
The Butter Betty Bought
Betty Botta bought some butter;
"But," said she, "this butter's bitter!
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit o' better butter
Will but make my batter better."
Then she bought a bit o' butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.
So 'twas better Betty Botta
Bought a bit o' better butter.
A Bicycle Built for Two
There was an ambitious young eel
Who determined to ride on a wheel;
But try as he might,
He couldn't ride right,
In spite of his ardor and zeal.
If he sat on the saddle to ride
His tail only pedalled one side;
And I'm sure you'll admit
That an eel couldn't sit
On a bicycle saddle astride.
Or if he hung over the top,
He could go, but he never could stop;
For of course it is clear
He had no way to steer,
And under the wheel he would flop.
His neighbor, observing the fun,
Said, "I think that the thing can be done,
If you'll listen to me,
You'll quickly agree
That two heads are better than one.
"And this is my project, old chap,
Around our two waists I will wrap
This beautiful belt
Of bottle-green felt
And fasten it firm with a strap."
This done, with a dignified mien
The two squirmed up on the machine,
And rode gayly away,
Or at least, so they say,
Who witnessed the wonderful scene.