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I met a man upon the stair

Posted by Bob on January 08, 2007

In Reply to: I met a man upon the stair posted by Bob on January 08, 2007

: : I would like to know what this means I heard it the other day,,,,I met a man upon the stair who was'nt there,he was'nt there again today, I wish I wish he'd stay away.thankyou I hope you can help..

: It's a misquote of the first stanza of a poem by Willian Hughes Mearns:

: The Little Man Who Wasn't There

: Last night I saw upon the stair
: A little man who wasn't there
: He wasn't there again today
: Oh, how I wish he'd go away...

: It goes on for a bit more, but this stanza is what people remember. And/or misquote.

I'm sorry. You asked for what it means. Hmmm. Well, it means nothing. It's a bit of novelty verse, a little nonsense. It's a little like Gelette Burgess' famous...

I never saw a purple cow,
I hope I never see one.
But I can tell you anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

This charming little bit of nonsense became so popular that, some years later, Mr. Burgess wrote:

Ah yes, I wrote the Purple Cow,
I'm sorry now I wrote it.
but I can tell you anyhow,
I'll kill you if you quote it.