Down By the Bay – an exercise in Cantonese poetry
Kiddo loves the song “Down By the Bay” and we listen to the Raffi version with lyrics as such:
Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say ….
* (see below)
Down by the bay
*1 “Did you ever see a goose kissing a moose?”
*2 “Did you ever see a whale with a polka dot tail?”
*3 “Did you ever see a fly wearing a tie?”
*4 “Did you ever see a bear combing his hair?”
*5 “Did you ever see a llama wearing pajamas?”
*6 “Did you ever have a time where you couldn’t make a rhyme?”
While I don’t consider translating the part of the song that stays the same, “Down by the bay…”, I dearly want to replace the joke part: goose/moose, whale/tail, etc.
While the joke seems pretty flexible but there are five syllables between and including the rhyming pair, and the first of the pair is an animal.
So, is there a Cantonese rhyming list out there? I didn’t find one. I just have to be prepared with a few rhymes like the following.
*1 “有無見過蚊著緊頸巾?” (“Did you ever see a fly wearing a scarf?”)
*2 “有無見過貓食緊麵包?” (“Did you ever see a cat eating a steamed bun?”)
*3 “有無見過蛇揸緊快車?” (“Did you ever see a snake driving a race car?”)
*4 “有無見過鵝騎緊駱駝?” (“Did you ever see a goose riding a camel?”)
*5 “有無見過羊玩遊樂場?” (“Did you ever see a sheep play at a playground?”)
*6 “有無見過蟻用滑梯?” (“Did you ever see an ant on the slide?”)
*7 “有無見過雞落緊樓梯?” (“Did you ever see a chicken descending some stairs?”)
*8 “有無一次唔記得啲字?” (“Did you ever have a time where you forgot all the words?”)
It wasn’t overly difficult, as it turned out. I could go on for longer but this is repertoire enough to amuse Kiddo and keep it Chinese. For the time being, he’s requesting that of me, to say it in Chinese instead of English! (Dear sweet kid!)
One other substitution I make, unconsciously but also for the kid, is to say “mama” instead of mother – same number of syllables and that’s how he calls me.