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Re: Spring has sprung

Posted by Smokey Stover on March 12, 2009 at 13:41

In Reply to: Re: Spring has sprung posted by Graham Cambray on March 09, 2009 at 14:25:

: : : : : : Where did the phrase "Spring has sprung" originate? It's the first line of a short poem, some versions of which have an accent (Brooklyn?) but it seems well-known outside the US.

: : : : : Brooklyn is right. See link below. (GC)

: : : : I failed to respond to your last comment. This is only from memory, but the comedian Spike Milligan (in the UK) was prone to recite it at odd moments and for no particular reason. The rhyme is fairly well known here, though I doubt many people are aware of its US origins. (GC)

: : : I couldn't find it in any of my references.

: : The version that I have heard or read most often is similar to the one provided by WikiAnswers.

: : Spring is sprung, the grass is ris.
: : I wonders where the birdies is.
: : They say the birds is on the wing.
: : Ain't that absurd?
: : I always thought the wing was on the bird.

: : See:

: : http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_wrote_'Spring_has_sprung_grass_has_ris_I_wonder_where_the_birdies_is'

: : This is often delivered with a pronounced and artificial sounding Bronx accent, or Brooklyn, if you will. I've heard more than one variant, but I've always heard it with "bird" in the singular in line 3. The word "always" is frequently omitted.

: : As to authorship, the view of WikiAnswers is:

: : "While frequently attributed to Ogden Nash or ee cummings the author of this amusing nonsense - known as "Spring In The Bronx" - is Anonymous."

: : Some people mention Spike Milligan as the possible author, but it seems far more likely that he simply heard it, liked it, and repeated it. He certainly didn't declaim it with a Bronx accent.
: : SS

: ---------

: Agreed - anonymous.

: Nash may perhaps have written a poem with a similar first line:
: "Spring has newly sprung / the hills are full of grass / and along comes a billy-goat / sliding on his overcoat / down the summer pass".
: But as the time-line laid out at
: http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/brooklyn_national_anthem_spring_is_sprung/ makes clear, our "grass is riz" poem seems to have developed in stages, perhaps starting its unlikely journey in Reno, Nevada, in 1941 - and thus it appears to be the work of a number of budding bards. (GC)

Not infrequently I find that it takes a few days after being jogged for my memory to clear as regards some previously heard phrase. Such is the case here, and I have to recant what I said above.

There are definitely two sayings here, which have been piled one on the other. The first, Spring has sprung, ends with "I wonder where the birdies is." The other is totally distinct, and first was heard in some such form as:

Ah, Spring,
The bird is on the wing!
But that's absurd--
The wing is on the bird.

The urban accent that produces "boid" and "absoid" is probably the result of its enunciation by some radio comedian, since it's not an ethnic joke.
SS