Wednesday 23 November 2022

Wall-flower, Wall-flower, growing up so high...

Wall-flower, Wall-flower, growing up so high, 

All the little children are all going-to die,

Except (insert child's name) s/he's the only one.

Fie for shame! Fie for shame!

Turn your back to the wall again!

This is an exceptionally chilling nursery song from my childhood; that used to provoke both fear and guilt whenever I thought or sung it. 

Fear; because to a young child, to say it is to make it happen. Guilt; because I would have to choose just one person to live - and what about all he others? 

Apparently, the song is not quite so existentially stark as I thought; because it went with an apparently harmless ring game - although this had not reached my part of Somerset - or else had been forgotten: 

Game Instructions 

The children form a ring by joining hands. They all dance slowly around, singing the words. When one child is named by the ring she turns around, so that her face is turned to the outside of the ring and her back inside. She still clasps hands with those on either side of her, and dances or walks around with them. This is continued until all the players have turned and are facing outwards.

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