My Uncle Dan
by Ted Hughes
My Uncle Dan’s an inventor, you may think that’s very fine.
You may wish he was your Uncle instead of being mine—
If he wanted he could make a watch that bounces when it drops,
He could make a helicopter out of string and bottle tops
Or any really useful thing you can’t get in the shops.
But Uncle Dan has other ideas:
The bottomless glass for ginger beers,
The toothless saw that’s safe for the tree,
A special word for a spelling bee
Or the roll-uppable rubber ladder,
The mystery pie that bites when it’s bit—
My Uncle Dan invented it.
My Uncle Dan sits in his den inventing night and day.
His eyes peer from his hair and beard like mice from a load of hay.
And does he make the shoes that will go walks without your feet?
A shrinker to shrink instantly the elephants you meet?
A carver that just carves from the air steaks cooked and ready to eat?
No, no, he has other intentions—
Only perfectly useless inventions:
Glassless windows (they never break),
A medicine to cure the earthquake,
The unspillable screwed-down cup,
The stairs that go neither down nor up,
The door you simply paint on a wall—
Uncle Dan invented them all.
From “Collected Poems for Children” by Ted Hughes (2005).