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Who is Isabelle?

Isabelle is a character. She appears often in my writing and artwork as the heroine. She is me, but she is not me. She represents my perspective, but she also has a life of her own with a set of adventures I can only dream about. She has traits that I would like to have, but don’t. She lives in a world like Narnia or Middle Earth, but she sometimes appears right here on Earth and in modern times.

Isabelle was born when I was a young child listening to my father read poems from a tattered book of poetry. My very favorite poem was The Adventures of Isabel by Ogden Nash. Isabel was like me, I could relate to her. But she was also a heroine. She was afraid of nothing and always knew what to do. I wanted to be like her. As I grew up, she began to appear in stories, plays, and screenplays that I wrote. She is the real subject of my “self-portraits”.

You can read some of her adventures in my old scripts and poetry, but I am sensing that new stories are on the way.

In the meantime, I would like to share with you the poem that inspired me to create her.

The Adventures of Isabel

Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t care;
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear’s big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I’ll eat you!
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry.
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up,
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.

Once in a night as black as pitch
Isabel met a wicked old witch.
the witch’s face was cross and wrinkled,
The witch’s gums with teeth were sprinkled.
Ho, ho, Isabel! the old witch crowed,
I’ll turn you into an ugly toad!
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry,
She showed no rage and she showed no rancor,
But she turned the witch into milk and drank her.

Isabel met a hideous giant,
Isabel continued self reliant.
The giant was hairy, the giant was horrid,
He had one eye in the middle of his forhead.
Good morning, Isabel, the giant said,
I’ll grind your bones to make my bread.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She nibled the zwieback that she always fed off,
And when it was gone, she cut the giant’s head off.

Isabel met a troublesome doctor,
He punched and he poked till he really shocked her.
The doctor’s talk was of coughs and chills
And the doctor’s satchel bulged with pills.
The doctor said unto Isabel,
Swallow this, it will make you well.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She took those pills from the pill concocter,
And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.

4 Comments · Post your own.
  1. 1
    Linda Bonavita

    Hi Lisa,
    So good to read this poem once again…so glad it’s your inspiration which, in turn, inspires one to delve further into your work.

    I’m glad we happened to meet and talk today. Thank you for showing me your work.

    Now to delve more into it via your website!

  2. 2


    Thanks so much for your comments. In turn you are inspiring me to do more work! It was wonderful chatting with you today.

  3. 3

    So this is a bit eerie but when my mom was growing up, my grandfather used to read her the same Ogden Nash poem. Her name is Lisa, and she named me after the poem (although no offense, she got the spelling correct.) I’m not sure if it’s just the picture book edition I grew up reading (illustrated by James Marshall but sadly out of print) but I grew up learning another two verses that you haven’t included after the doctor, one about Isabel defeating a nightmare, and another about her chasing off a Bugaboo monster.

  4. 4

    Impressive,i like isabelle also.

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