Saturday, February 20, 2016

E. L. Moore’s Ode to Emmett

[In the January 1956 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, there was a photo essay by E. L. Moore called with the Spumoni family in Merrie Old England. It was a collection of photos of a diorama Mr. Moore built based on the works of Roland Emmett - basically, it was an homage to Emmett’s work. This master photo shows the entire diorama, and from it you can see the scenes that appear in the ’56 photo essay]

E. L. Moore’s friend, Bill Rau, suffered a heart attack in September ’67. He was laid up in hospital for a number of weeks (note, he recovered and resumed his editorial duties at Model Railroader) and during that time Mr. Moore sent him some letters to lift his spirits. One, dated 1 Oct ’67, included a poem that was to have accompanied the photos in that Jan ’56 RMC photo essay.

Here’s a little ditty after the fashion of Carryl’s Robinson Crusoe Story:

I often find diversion
In a holiday excursion
On the little railroad that you see;
And we travel up and down
Then, stopping at a town
Refresh ourselves with whistleberry tea,

We stop at every station
To give the engine medication,
And to buy up souvenirs for home.
We get blisters on our hinies
From sitting, talking with the limeys,
And more while writing up this travel pome.

We never have to worry,
And we’re never in a hurry,
For we have our own domesticated cow;
While in the coach ahead
The Dukes and Lords are fed
On refrigerated, germinated chow.

Our coach is light and airy,
But quite unsanitary,
For the plumbing has a weather-beaten look.
We live from hand to jug
Weighing calories by the glug,
For we have no pots and pans with which to cook.

We had an invitation
From the Duke of Ostentation
To scale at Castle Twitching By-The-Sea
We bought a ship for sailing
But it had a single failing
It was anchored on a mountain balcony.

I’ve come to the conclusion,
So I’ll put my sox and shoes on,
For the ties and cinders hurt my feet.
You see, I lost my bloomin’ ticket
In a bloody game of cricket,
So I’m walking home down railroad street.

I had a set of pictures, one to illustrate each verse, or vice versa -- the pictures appeared in RMC once many years ago -- here’s one of them -- a take-off on the English caricaturist, Rowland Emmett and his Nellie, or whatever his engine’s name was.

Carryl was Charles Edward Carryl, an American stock broker and children’s literature author who was born in 1841 and died in 1920. His poem, Robinson Crusoe’s Story, was published in 1919.

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