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One of the many poems by Walt Kelly that my sister and I delighted in is Many Harry Returns. If you don't know it, read it aloud first, particularly to someone else. Scanning the last stanza is the delight for me.

Once you were two,
Dear birthday friend,
In spite of purple weather.

But now you are three
And near the end
As we grewsome together.

How fourthful thou,
Forsooth for you,
For soon you will be more!

But – ‘fore
One can be three be two,
Before be five, be four!

Both of my grandfathers loved nonsense poetry. My maternal grandfather's study had a 20 foot ceiling in the grand old house with a fireplace in each room. He had a wall of books. I loved that room and loved the books. There were two shelves at floor level that we were allowed to touch: these were the cartoon books. Pogo, The New Yorker Cartoons, Charles Addams and all sorts of cartoons. There was a pile of comics after a while, but I pored over the cartoons. New Yorker cartoons were excellent for learning new words and trying to puzzle out the meaning. I learned this Walt Kelly poem long before I learned to spell, so you would understand why I can't spell gruesome and I never realized that fourthful is not a word until spell check.... I did understand the last stanza quite young and love the play between numbers and the word before.

I do have a wall of books now, though I do not envy whoever is trying to heat that grand old house, which is still in Trumansburg, New York. My wall is a bit smaller but is rich in books and cartoons and comics.... and think what my grandfathers would have done about manga....

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