To a Kaffir Baby

Original Text: 
Edith L. M. King, Veld Rhymes for Children with Twenty-six Airs (London: Longmans, Green, 1911): 22. 11647.f.46 British Library
3Are you really comfortable
4    Hanging in your shrawl?
5Niddle noddle, niddle noddle,
6    Goes your little head,
7Keeping time, all willy nilly,
8    To your mother's tread.
9Any little English baby,
10    In your place, would bake:
11If its head went wag as yours does,
12    O how it would ache!
13When you grow a little bigger
14    You will run all bare,
15In the heat of summer weather
16    And the winter air.
17Any little English babies --
18    Babies such as I --
19If they lived the life that you do,
20    I am sure, would die.
21Yet you look quite fat and happy
22    Hanging in your shawl,
23And, when you're a grown-up Kaffir,
24    You'll be strong and tall.
25You will drive a team of oxen,
26    You will sow and dig --
27Just the things that I should like to
28    Do, when I am big.


1] Kaffir: Bantu (black African). Back to Line
2] kraal: "A village of Southern or Central African native peoples, consisting of a collection of huts surrounded by a fence or stockade, and often having a central space for cattle, etc." (OED). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2000.