Khayyam in the nursery

A Sixpence and a Pocketful of Rye.
So sing I, and must sing until I die,
	And not the Garnered Wisdom of the years
Nor all the Wheeling Stars can tell me why.

Ye know the time-worn tale—a score or so
Of Blackbirds, piping plaintively below
	The Brooding Horror of a monstrous Crust,
Close-huddled in a Wilderness of dough.

Yet soon the darkness lightens.  For the king
Cuts deeply, and the birds are on the wing,
	The mellow-throated warblers of the woods
Burst from their flaky Prison House to sing.

I sometimes count this marvel not the least
Of all the magic splendours of the East;
	I sometimes think there never was prepared
A daintier dish to grace a Monarch's feast.

List to the solemn burden of my cry,
Ah, what it means I know not, no, not I,
	Unknown, unknowable, it haunts me still,
A Sixpence and a Pocketful of Rye.

G. F. Forrest

from More Comic & Curious Verse, selected by JM Cohen (Penguin, 1956)