'Midnight Farm"

STORY TIME

March 22, 2000|By Carly Simon

Editor's note: Songwriter Carly Simon has written several children's books, including these verses about a magical farm that comes alive with music at midnight.

One night in July

We woke to hoots and howls --

It sounded nothing like a nightingale

Nothing like an owl.

We looked out the window

And the sea was very calm

But the joint was jumping

On our Martha's Vineyard farm.

Just when you'd expect

Every living thing to doze

Vegetables and flowers

Were putting on their clothes.

In our pajamas

We left the house

And were led to the yard

By a little field mouse

In a squeaky clear voice

She said, "Kids are allowed

You'll be rather amused

You'll be part of the crowd."

As we walked through the garden

The onions and the peas

Did a jig just to welcome

My twin brother and me.

They came from the barn

And from the neat flower beds

And from those winding little furrows

Where moles poke their heads.

Raccoons checked their hairdos

Mosquitoes revved their whines

While weeds, usually messy,

Formed tidy straight lines.

"Looks like the songs

Are about to begin,"

The field mouse informed us

As she raised her mandolin.

"Come meet the tulip

Who conducts the midnight choir

He's an old fuddy-duddy

But he's about to retire."

As if by magic

A goat with a goatee

Gave a flute and an oboe

To Noah and me.

There was nothing to do

But pucker and blow--

It knocked the socks off a cricket

And the pants off a crow.

All eyes were upon us

As the tulip turned 'round,

He struck his baton

Quite hard on the ground:

"If you're going to play

Please play the same song

I cannot hear the hymn

When you're notes are all wrong."

Then he handed us music

On sycamore leaves

And suddenly in buzzed

A great swarm of bees.

They surrounded us, filling in

"Ooohs" and then "ahhhs"

And an audience of cows

Went wild with applause.

This woke up the pond

First the fish then the frogs

Who splashed sparkling water

On a few of the hogs

And Noah and I took a fall

And then flipped ...

We rolled over and over

And down a great hill

And bumped into a turtle

Heating pearls on a grill.

"What are you doing?"

I couldn't help but ask.

The turtle looked giddy

As he explained his strange task:

"You see, when they're warm

They float toward the moon

Then rain down on the farm

Making everything swoon

And sleep shortly follows

The magic will be over

And I'll crawl very slowly

Back under my cover."

Just then a dolphin

With silver-green eyes

Jumped out of the ocean

And continued to rise.

As we gazed at the sky

The wind caught the pearls

And I knew that it signaled

A change in the world.

Noah started to cry

He didn't want it to end

He said that the turtle

Was going to be his best friend.

As the pearls turned to mist

It all seemed so weird

We looked back at the turtle

But he'd just disappeared.

We walked back up the hill

And the bees were all gone

The tulip conductor

Had dropped his baton.

The pigs were a cluster

Of pink in their box

And no tracks from the tractor

No trace of the fox.

The moon sat right down

Like a schooner at sea

The morning wouldn't wait

For Noah and me.

Just the mouse was still waiting

As mice often wait

To show us to the door

Saying, "Gee, it got late,

But really it's early

I guess they're one and the same,

Good night little boys

I'm glad that you came."

As we drifted to sleep

We knew there'd be more

We'd never know when

Or how, or what for.

But we knew something would wake us

Again one late night

And I'm so happy to tell you,

Yes ... we were right.

Excerpted from the book MIDNIGHT FARM. Text copyright (c) 1997 by Carly Simon. Illustrations copyright (c) 1997 by David Delamare. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., Children's Publishing Division. All rights reserved.

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