I don’t have a high tolerance for poetry. Most of it is boring and pretentious — which is just my way of saying that I don’t understand. There are a few poems out there (I wouldn’t even say poets) that I really enjoy. Most of them because they resonate with me on some level.
A. A. Milne’s “The Knight Whose Armor Didn’t Squeak” is one of the great ones. I memorized that poem when I was little because it amused me so much and I read it over and over until I no longer had to read it.
The rest of this book is quite marvelous in one specific way and that is that A. A. Milne does what he does best and that is capture the life of a small child. The poems and words and logic all pull the reader back to childhood and are even amusing on occasion because of the illogical views of a small child… that are absolutely correct.
Sometimes children are prescient beyond what adults like to give them credit for. Sometimes they make assumptions about the world that just don’t make sense unless you examine things from their literal and limited knowledge.
Milne captures all of that explicitly and wonderfully. The problem is that it is poetry. If this was another of his Winnie-the-Pooh adventures I would devour it wholeheartedly. As it is I raced through to get to the story about Sir Tomas Tom of Appledore (the titular knight of my favorite poem), read it a few times just for memories sake, then crawled through the rest of the poems just to finish it.
This is probably not a failing of Milne or his poetry — it most likely is my own problem. Poetry rarely speaks to me and most of this book did not.