Kendrew Lascelles. Poems

Anna Kipling

Anna Kipling


The Box

I, Kendrew Lascelles, wrote The Box, around January 1971 and first performed it on the Smother Brothers Summer Show ABC I think around 73, maybe 72, whence John Denver, a guest on the show some weeks following, asked me whether he might perform it, go for it, said I, whereafter he included it on his album Poems and Prayers and Promises, whence it earned me a relative fortune. Burl Ives wanted to do it, but since I also recorded it on a 45, with When All the Laughter Dies in Sorrow on the flip side, that fell through. The Group Chicago put When All the Lauigher etc, on their album Chicago III. The late Peter Lawford used to recite The Box, and, relatively recently, Jack Lemmon. Lascelles Abercrombie was a Lancashire area poet, who died 2 years after I was born, and whose poetry is quite plodding, and whoever these subintellects are, who claim he wrote The Box, I suggest they get their misinformed facts straight, and those among them who are reciting it, for mercy’s sake learn to elocute my words. Also, Check the Poems Prayers Promises Album cover for John Denver’s crediting me with authorship, alse see Nash Publishing for the Book, and check with Universal Music Publishing, from whom, happily I still recieve ‘church mouse royalties every year, and when you dissemblers have finished doing that, for pity’s sake, shut the hell up! Signed Kendrew Lascelles, Jan 31 2009.

Performed by John Denver, 1971

Once upon a time, in the land of hushabye,
they came across a sort of box,
bound up with chains, and locked with locks,
and labelled

A decree was issued all about,
all with a flourish and a shout,
and a gaily coloured mascot,
tripping lightly on before.

“Don’t fiddle with this deadly box,
or break the chains,
or pick the locks,
and please –
don’t ever mess around
with WAR”.

Well, the children understood –
children happen to be good,
and they were just as good
around the wond’rous days of yore.
They didn’t try to pick the locks,
or break into the deadly box,
THEY never tried to play about
with WAR.

Mommies didn’t either,
Sisters, Aunts, Grannies neither,
’cause they were quiet, and sweet, and pretty
in those wond’rous days of yore.
Well, much the same as now,
and not the ones to blame somehow
for opening up that deadly box
of WAR.

But someone did.
Someone battered in the lid,
and spilled the insides out across the floor.
A sort of bouncy, bumpy, ball
Made up of guns and flags and all
the tears and horror and the death
that goes along
with WAR.

Well, it bounced right out –
and went bashing all about
and bumping everything in store;
and what was sad, and most unfair,
is that it didn’t really seem to care
much who it bumped
or why
or what
or for.
iIt bumped the children mainly –
and I’ll tell you this quite plainlyiIt bumps them every day
and what is more
it leaves them dead, and burned and dying
THOUSANDS of them, sick and crying
’cause when it bumps –
it’s really, very sore.

But there’s a way to stop the ball,
it isn’t difficult at all
All it takes is wisdom, and I’m absolutely sure,
We could get it back into the box
and bind the chains
and lock the locks…………..
But no-one seems to want
to save the children anymore.

Well, that’s the way it all appears,
’cause it’s been bouncin’ round for years and years –
in spite of all the wisdom wizzed,
since those wond’rous days of yore….

And the time they came across that box,
bound up with chains,
and locked with locks
And labelled


When All the Laughter Dies in Sorrow

When All the Laughter Dies in Sorrow
by Kendrew Lascelles
When all the laughter dies in sorrow
And the tears have risen to a flood
When all the wars have found a cause
In human wisdom and in blood
Do you think they’ll cry in sadness
Do you think the eye will blink
Do you think they’ll curse the madness
Do you even think they’ll think

When all the great galactic systems
Sigh to a frozen halt in space
Do you think there will be some remnant
Of beauty of the human race
Do you think there will be a vestage
Or a sniffle or a cosmic tear
Do you think a greater thinking thing
Will give a damn that man was here
(used in the album Chicago III)

Please contact the author for suggestions or further informations: annakipling

Anna Kipling

Anna Kipling


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