A Glasgow nonsense rhyme for Molly

A Glasgow nonsense rhyme for Molly
Molly Pin Li McLaren,
come home and look
at the pictures in your brand-new book –
a tree, a bird, a fish, a bell,
a bell, a fish, a tree, a bird.
Point, wee Molly, and say the word!

Oh, Molly, I wish
you the moon as white and round as a dish
and a bell, a tree, a bird and a fish.

Touch! Taste! Look! Smell!
(tree, fish, bird, bell)
And listen, wee Molly, listen well
to the wind,
to the wind in the tree go swish
(bird, bell, tree, fish)
to the shrill of the bird and the plop of the fish
and the clang of the bell
and the stories they tell
the stories they tell,
Molly, the tree, the bird, the fish and the bell.
Liz Lochhead

from The Thing that Mattered Most: Scottish poems for children edited by Julie Johnstone (SPL/B&W, 2006)

Reproduced by permission of the author.
Liz Lochhead

Appointed Scots Makar – the National Poet for Scotland – from 2011 to 2016, Liz Lochhead is both transgressive and popular; as Anne Varty wrote, ‘her work is that of one woman speaking to many,  and one person speaking for many’.


Read more about this poet
About A Glasgow nonsense rhyme for Molly

Wee Molly was fetched by her new parents, Graham and Julie, from distant Jiang Xi province in China, and came home to Glasgow in time for her first birthday. 

The city’s coat of arms has a tree, a bird, a fish and a bell, hence the traditional –

this is the tree that never grew
this is the bird that never flew
this is the fish that never swam
this is the bell that never rang.

A Glasgow nonsense rhyme for Molly National Poetry Day postcard 2006

This poem was reproduced on a postcard for National Poetry Day 2006. Eight poetry postcards are published each year by the Scottish Poetry Library to celebrate National Poetry Day and are distributed throughout Scotland to schools, libraries and other venues. The theme for 2006 was identity. You can find out more about National Poetry Day in our National Poetry Day pages, where you'll also find resources to go with the poems.