I just heard Maurice Sendak interviewed on Fresh Air (the occasion being a celebration of his 80th birthday); everything he said was interesting, but one thing that particularly got my attention was a poem he was talking about. I had missed the lead-in, so I assumed it was a contemporary riff on the nursery-rhyme form, because it sounded so strange and morbid:
We are all in the dumps
For diamonds are trumps
The kittens have gone to St. Paul’s!
The baby is bit
The moon’s in a fit
And the houses are built
But no, it turns out it’s a genuine nursery rhyme (I’m sure some of my readers are shaking their heads and saying “What, you don’t know it?!”), and Sendak combined it with an equally strange one (“Jack and Guy/ Went out in the rye/ And they found a little boy/ With one black eye…”) to produce what is apparently his least popular book, We’re All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy, described (with an illustration) in this post by Max Sparber, who makes it sound so strange and nightmarish I really want to see the whole thing.