James Clerk Maxwell

(13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879 / Edinburgh, Scotland)

Cats Cradle Song, By A Babe In Knots - Poem by James Clerk Maxwell

Peter the Repeater,
Platted round a platter
Slips of slivered paper,
Basting them with batter.

Flype ’em, slit ’em, twist ’em,
Lop-looped laps of paper;
Setting out the system
By the bones of Neper.

Clear your coil of kinkings
Into perfect plaiting,
Locking loops and linkings
Interpenetrating.

Why should a man benighted,
Beduped, befooled, besotted,
Call knotful knittings plighted,
Not knotty but beknotted?

It’s monstrous, horrid, shocking,
Beyond the power of thinking,
Not to know, interlocking
Is no mere form of linking.

But little Jacky Horner
Will teach you what is proper,
So pitch him, in his corner,
Your silver and your copper.


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Read poems about / on: silver, power, song



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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