Friday, April 10, 2020

The Amazing Egg

I have found it a challenge to focus on my blog. What should I, or could I write about? Finally, late last night, I landed on an idea that should have been obvious.  The egg!!! It's spring, the time for birds to lay eggs, hatch from eggs, steal eggs or hide their eggs in another's nest. For Christians, it is a time to celebrate Easter and new life, and eggs have been part of that celebration for many years.

I have purchased a few fancy eggs that I get out each year. 

 This one is a from the Eastern European tradition called pysanky. Making one of these requires a steady hand. These are made by applying hot wax to the egg and then dying it several times. It is hard to see, but this egg has both yellow and red. 

 This one is a modern version of pysanky. I think it was also made with layers of dye and wax.

This one is made with colored wax, carefully and beautifully applied.

We can readily put poetry together with eggs. We all know Humpty Dumpty... but a little research taught me that this poem was first published in 1797.  The words "Humpty Dumpty" also referred to a kind of brandy which was boiled with ale, suggesting a reason for Humpty's clumsiness that I had not considered. (I hope this hasn't tainted your favorite Mother Goose rhyme.)

Of course there were earlier versions:
James Orchid Halliwell’s, published the poem as: 
Humpty Dumpty lay in a beck.
With all his sinews around his neck;
Forty Doctors and forty wrights
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty to rights!

But do you know this version?  It always makes me laugh.

If Walt Whitman Had Written Humpty Dumpty

O Humpty! O Dumpty! You've had a fearful spill,
You've tumbled from the stony height,
     you're lying cold and still;
Your shell is cracked, your yolk runs out,
     your breath is faint and wheezy;
You landed as a scrambled egg, instead of over easy;
     The king has sent his steeds and men
           to mend you if they can;
                I pray that they did not forget
                      To bring a frying pan.
                                            - Frank Jacobs

I'll end with one last egg, this one made with sugar, the inside scene made with a type of frosting. My mother's best friend made eggs like this, and I had a nice collection until a younger sibling stuck his finger inside every one and broke the figures out. I'm over it, though. I'm over it.  Totally...

Many blessings to you during this time of spring renewal. In 1939, C.S. Lewis gave some excellent advice to his students about maintaining courage during trying times. You can read about it here.

It's Poetry Friday, join the fun at Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's The Poem Farm.


  1. What lovely eggs. My brother has created a few eggs with that technique. I'm not sure I have the patience to try it. I loved that last Whitman style Humpty Dumpty poem. It brought a smile.

  2. Thanks for this delightful post! The other HD poems are so funny (didn't know HD was also a type of drink). Thanks, too, for sharing your pysanky eggs (and I used to love those sugar eggs when I was little -- so magical!).

    Here's a link to a Julie Paschkis book I reviewed a few years ago -- she has a pysanky egg-making tradition in her family:

  3. Too bad about your sugar eggs! Dang siblings! That Frank Jacobs version of Humpty Dumpty made me laugh!

  4. I am not over it. I want those eggs back for you! I, too, love all kinds of decorated eggs. There is magic in the simple, humble egg. xx

    1. Amy LV: Haha. I only put this egg and story in to be humorous. The eggs were broken at least 60 years ago! I am over it! It's just the iconic sibling story.

  5. I love seeing your special eggs, Karen. I do not have any that are decorated like that, but a few marble ones rolling around. Sorry about that loss from the younger sibling! I loved the Walt Whitman Humpty Dumpty, priceless humor makes the day! And I enjoyed the C.S. Redux - priceless advice! Happy Easter to you & the family!

  6. Eggs are an 'Egg-cellent' focal point for your post and the poetry you shared. I especially like the version of HD by Frank Jacobs - hee hee. Beautiful eggs, but bummer about the sugar egg robbery that caused the 'fracture' in your family. ;)