Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Battle of the Bones

Jan. 7, 1915/ Fort Pierre, South Dakota   (An enclosure to her Mom) 
Bachelor Bess: The Homesteading Letters of Elizabeth Corey, 1909-1919

Battle of the Bones

How many bones in the human face?
Fourteen when they're all in place.

How many bones in the human head?
Eight, my child, as I've often said.

How many bones in the human ear?
Three in each, and they help to hear.

How many bones of the human spine?
Twenty-six like a climbing vine.

How many bones the shoulders bind?
In each arm one: two in each forearm.

How many bones in the human wrist?
Eight in each if none are missed.

How many bones in the palm of the hand?
Five in each, with many a band.

How many bones in the fingers ten?
Twenty-eight, and by joints they bend.

How many bones in the human hip?
One in each; like a dish they dip.

How many bones in the human thigh?
One in each and deep they lie.

How many bones in the human knees?
One in each, the kneepan, please.

How many bones in the leg from knee?
Two in each, we can plainly see.

How many bones in the ankle strong?
Seven in each, but none are long.

How many bones in the ball of the foot?
Five in each as the palms are put.

How many bones in the toes half a score?
Twenty-eight and there are no more.

And now, all together, these bones may fix,
and the count, in a body, two hundred and six.

And then we have, in the human mouth
of upper and under, thirty-two teeth.

And now and then have a bone, I should think
That forms a joint, or to fill up a chink.

A sesamould bone, or a Wormain, we call.
And now we may rest, for we've told them all.


  1. I never heard that before. Do you think that's how doctors learn the bones in med school? :D

  2. I have no idea, Mrs. Lisa. But, it would be an easy poem to remember that is for sure.

    Bess was a teacher in a one room school house in South Dakota during the 1900s. I thought it was neat that she included it in her letter to her mom. She doesn't remark on the poem at all. So, as to why she sent it to her is a mystery.

  3. This is such a cute rhyme. I have never heard it before. Thanks for sharing. God bless.

  4. what a great way to learn about the bones in our bodies! :)

  5. I love this! Just the kind of thing that will be great for our tea party recitation! Thanks for sharing it!
    Hope you have a great day!
    BTW, your baby is getting so big! She's a beauty!


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