In Isolation: April 22, “Caterpillar”

An introduction to this “In Isolation” blog series appears at the top of the March 22 post.


“The song ‘Caterpillar’ invites laughter and play. For children, for adults, for adults who have forgotten how to be children.” Today’s opening words are from Walter Farquharson’s “Comments about Song”.

I reached a point today where I could not handle one more bit or byte of negative news. I turned the TV off. I turned off the news alerts on my laptop. I went down to my studio, sat at the piano, and immersed myself in “Caterpillar”, playing and singing it to myself faster and faster until my lips could no longer keep up with my fingers. It wasn’t a pretty sight — or sound!

Memories about leading the song came flooding back: A group of students shouting (read requesting) “Caterpillar”, “Caterpillar”… from a balcony in the auditorium at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin; A children’s choir in San Diego, California who, upon completing it shouted in [obviously rehearsed] unison, “Again!, 2, 3, 4” and then repeated the final four lines; A Sunday School teacher in Campbell River, British Columbia who articulated her outrage at ‘her’ children being asked to sing about “caterpillars humping” — and on it went.

I need this break. I need to laugh at myself. I need to know there are more Grandma Cutler’s who comfortably move from playing for Saturday night wedding dances to Sunday morning church services. Read more about her and a whole lot of other ‘Walter musings’ in “Caterpillar’s Comments about Song”.

Subscribers or those who have purchased this title can scroll to the bottom of the centre column to find a complete audio piano accompaniment including all verses, introduction and the interludes between them.


Caterpillar, pillarcat,
cat gets fat and eats a rat. 
Caterpiggle, squirm and wiggle,
caterpillage, munch the village.
Cater, cater, cater, cat,
hump your way across my mat.
Cater, cater, cater, cat,
hump your way across my mat.
Cater, cater, cater, cat,
hump your way across my mat.
Cater, cater, cater, cat,
hump your way across my mat.

Play with words and play with words,
play like you shouldn’t oughter.
It’s fun to play with funny words
the way we play, play in water.
Splash them here, splash them there,
on your feet and in your hair.
Splash them here, splash them there,
on your feet and in your hair.
Splash them here, splash them there,
on your feet and in your hair.
Splash them here, splash them there,
on your feet and in your hair.

Words like water trickle, drip,
drip a drop that goes kerplop!
Trip a trickle, pick a pickle,
smash your foot with big swish slop!
You oughter play, you otter play,
all otters play in water.
You oughter play, you otter play,
all otters play in water.
You oughter play, you otter play,
all otters play in water.
You oughter play, you otter play,
all otters play in water.

God gives words and things to say,
minds to think and games to play;
gives us words to say to friends,
words for ends and beginnings.
Thank you, God, for all you give;
lots of laughter, love to live.
Thank you, God, for all you give;
lots of laughter, love to live.
Thank you, God, for all you give;
lots of laughter, love to live.
Thank you, God, for all you give;
lots of laughter, love to live.

Oh, Thank you, God, for all you give;
lots of laughter, love to live.
Thank you, God, for helping me
make it all the way to Amen!

Words Copyright © 1984 by Walter Farquharson.

Administered by Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, Illinois • USA