Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head
AnonymousAnonymous wrote heaps of excellent poems.
This one was chosen as an example of a fine Message poem by National Poetry Day Ambassador, Rachel Rooney.
She says: "This traditional playground singing rhyme is one I remember chanting in my childhood. Church bells were rung to let people nearby know when there was a wedding or a funeral being held, or to call people to Mass. In the olden days, church bells were rung at the time a prisoner was executed - which is where this poem may have originally come from."
Rachel Rooney is a teacher and poet who has two collections of children’s poetry published by Frances Lincoln. The first, 'The Language of Cat', won the 2012 CLPE Award ( CLiPPA) and the second 'My Life as a Goldfish' was shortlisted for the 2015 CLiPPA. She also has a rhyming picture book 'A Patch of Black' – a tale about nighttime fears published by Macmillan Children’s Books. She goes into schools as a visiting poet, and has performed at Hay Literary Festival, Southbank Centre and for The Children’s Bookshow.