Bring back my body to me

My Bonnie lies over the ocean
My Bonnie lies over the sea
My Bonnie lies over the ocean
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me

For the longest time when I was little (okay, and a while after too), I thought “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean” was about a guy who’d lost his body: “My body lies over the ocean… Bring back my body to me.” Apparently Kelly DiPucchio thought so, too, when she wrote “My Body Lies over the Ocean” and other monstrous camp songs in Sipping Spiders through a Straw. (“I’ve Been Running over Road Toads” reminds me I want to check out Toad Rage.)

“My Bonnie” was possibly about Prince Charles Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. (His full name was Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart. Kind of reminds you of Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner Hogan Logan Bogan, doesn’t it?)

But I like the morbid version too. It makes a good ghost story, especially considering that almost nobody teaches the whole thing (“Last night as I lay on my pillow / I dreamt that my body [Bonnie] was dead.”). And either version (perhaps abridged, according to age or preference) would be good for teaching letter sounds or alliteration. (Now excuse me while I try to shake out more earworms…)

Further reading:

Skeleton

Human Body

“My Bonnie” parodies

About Amy

Children's librarian, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
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One Response to Bring back my body to me

  1. kantju says:

    My body is in a commotion, I’m leaning way over the rail, if you don’t want me to mess up the ocean, oh somebody bring me a pail! Bring me, bring me, oh somebody bring me a pail, etc. [Meant to be sung at the top of your lungs while rocking in a hammock with at least 3 other kids.]

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