On the Ning Nang Nong

On the Ning Nang Nong

By Spike Milligan

On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
and the monkeys all say BOO!
There’s a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang
And you just can’t catch ‘em when they do!
So its Ning Nang Nong
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning
Trees go ping
Nong Ning Nang
The mice go Clang
What a noisy place to belong
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!

Summary of On the Ning Nang Nong

  • Popularity of “On the Ning Nang Nong”: Written by British comedian, musician, and writer Spike Milligan, “On the Ning Nang Nong” is a popular children’s poem. It first appeared in 1959 in his book Silly Verse for Kids. Since its publication, the poem has become a classic. It has found places in numerous children’s poetry anthologies, as well as in textbooks in schools around the world. Its popularity can be attributed to its whimsical language and playful use of nonsense words, which capture the imagination of young readers and listeners. The poem’s catchy rhythm and memorable refrain make it a fun and engaging read-aloud for children.
  • “On The Ning Nang Nong” As a Representative of Nonsensical Poetry: The poem is a prime example of nonsense poetry characterized by its use of surreal and absurd language, often without any apparent meaning or logical structure. The poem is representative of the playfulness and boundless creativity typical of children’s literature. That is why it often occurs as an introduction to poetry for young readers. Milligan’s use of made-up words and silly sounds in “On The Ning Nang Nong” is reminiscent of the nonsense verse of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, both of whom were major figures in the genre of children’s literature. The poem’s emphasis on fun and imagination makes it a classic that continues to captivate young readers today.
  • Major Themes in “On The Ning Nang Nong”: The major themes in “On The Ning Nang Nong” include the importance of imagination and creativity, the joy of playfulness, and the celebration of nonsense. The poem is a playful and surreal exploration of a fictional land where cows go “bong” and trees “jibber jabber joo” (lines 2-6). The emphasis on imagination and creativity is seen throughout the poem, as Milligan encourages readers to sing “Ning Nang Nong” (lines 7-8), celebrating the power of play and the freedom of the imagination. The poem also celebrates nonsense, with Milligan creating words like “Ning Nang Nong” (lines 1, 4, 7 and 12) that have no apparent meaning but are nonetheless delightful in their silliness. The joy and humor that permeate the poem make it a popular choice for children and adults alike, as it encourages readers to embrace their creativity and celebrate the absurd.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in On The Ning Nang Nong

Spike Milligan poet used various literary devices to enhance the intended impact of his poem. Some of the major literary devices are analyzed below.

  1. Alliteration: It is the repetition of the initial consonant sounds in nearby words, such as the sound of /j/ in “jibber jabber joo” (line 6). This line also shows the use of alliteration with /t/ and /t/ sounds.
  2. Assonance: It is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words, such as /o/ in “Where the Cows go Bong!” (Lines 2 and 11).
  3. Consonance: It is the repetition of consonant sounds in nearby words. “On the Ning Nang Nong, where the cows go bong!” (Lines 1-2) uses consonance with the repeated “ng” and “g” sounds.
  4. Hyperbole: It is the exaggeration used for emphasis or effect. “The mice go Clang” (line 8) shows the use of hyperbole intended to create a humorous and absurd image.
  5. Imagery: It is the use of descriptive language to create a mental picture in the reader’s mind. “And the teapots jibber jabber joo” (line 6) shows the creation of vivid imagery through its use of descriptive language.
  6. Irony: It is the use of language that conveys the opposite of its literal meaning. The lines “The Ning Nang Nong / All the mice go Clang” (lines 7-8) are ironic because they set up an expectation that the Ning Nang Nong is a fantastical place but then reveal that it is actually quite mundane.
  7. Onomatopoeia: It is the use of words that imitate the sound they describe. “Where the trees go Ping” (line 5) uses onomatopoeia to create a sense of playfulness through sounds.
  8. Paradox: It is a statement that seems contradictory or absurd but may contain some truth or hidden meaning. “The Ning Nang Nong / Where the Cows go Bong” (lines 1-2) shows the use of paradox intended to create a sense of absurdity and playfulness.
  9. Personification: It is the attribution of human qualities to non-human things. “All the mice go Clang” (line 8) shows the use of personification to give mice human-like qualities.
  10. Repetition: It is the recurrence of a word, phrase, or line for emphasis or effect. “On the Ning Nang Nong” (lines 1, 7, and 14) shows the use of repetition intended to create a sense of rhythm and playfulness.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in On The Ning Nang Nong

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction: It is the word choice and use of language in a poem. Milligan uses playful and nonsensical language throughout the poem. For example, “Ning Nang Nong” and “jibber jabber joo.”
  2. End Rhyme: It is the rhyming of the last words in each line. Milligan uses end rhyme throughout the poem, such as “Ning Nang Nong” and “go Bong” (lines 1-2).
  3. Meter: Pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry. “On the Ning Nang Nong” has a varied meter, with lines of varying lengths and rhythms.
  4. Rhyme Scheme: It is a type of pattern of end rhymes in a poem. “On the Ning Nang Nong” does not have a consistent rhyme scheme but rather uses a variety of rhyming words and sounds throughout.
  5. Poem: It means the type of poetic composition. “On the Ning Nang Nong” is a humorous and playful poem that uses nonsense language and imagery to create a whimsical world.
  6. Stanza: It means a part of the poem comprising certain verses. “On the Ning Nang Nong” is composed has a single stanza with seventeen verses in it.
  7. Tone: It is the overall mood or attitude conveyed in a poem. The tone of “On the Ning Nang Nong” is lighthearted, playful, and whimsical, with a sense of absurdity and nonsense throughout.

Quotes to be Used

This quote can be used to inject some humor and whimsy into a conversation or event or simply to express a love for silliness and nonsense.

The Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
And the Monkeys all say Boo!
There’s a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.”