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The Ice Cream Jingle, a Narrative Poem


Mark Tulin is an international author, humorist, poet, and short-story writer who lives by California's central coast.


Food and Childhood Memories

I have a slew of food memories growing up in Pennsylvania. I loved eating Coney Island chili dogs with my Aunt Marion. My friends and I bought countless bags of soft pretzels from the street vendors in Philly. Those cheesesteaks with grilled onions were a favorite of mine when I watched a Sixers' game on my black and white TV. Every Sunday morning, I went with my father to the Jewish Deli to pick up some lean corn beef, bagels, and rye bread that felt sort of like a religious experience. But perhaps it was the soft serve ice cream truck and its jingle that elicits my fondest memories of childhood. Please enjoy The Ice Cream Jingle.

The Ice Cream Jingle, a Narrative Poem

It was the late 60s, a hot summer afternoon in Philly.
All the kids were huddled in my backyard pool
floating on a white walrus and shooting squirt guns,
swimming underwater like Jacques Cousteau.

As we splashed around in three feet of water
from a leaky garden hose,
we heard the jingle of an ice cream truck,
an alluring tinkle-tinkle driving down our city block.

“Here’s Mister Softee!” we all yelled in a sugary trance.
We leaped from the pool, pushing each other aside
for the last one there was a rotten egg,
hoping that the ice cream truck didn’t drive away.

Back then, we’d do anything for soft serve.
Loot our mother’s handbag.
Hijack a Brink’s truck.
Break our little sister’s piggy bank.

I was the first to the window after butting in line,
barefoot and shivering in my loose-fitting bathing suit.
I held the change in my wrinkled palms,
counting it over again, hoping it was enough.

My brain was numb; my hands were quivering.
I pointed to the picture on the side of the truck.
“The vanilla chocolate chip dip,” I barely said,
“with a rainbow sprinkle jubilee.”

The man pushed a lever on the silver machine
and calmly caught that vanilla swirl into a cone.
Without saying a word, he dipped it into the sprinkles
and some chocolate chips, a Rembrandt, an ice-cream masterpiece.

Sitting on the curb, I lapped up the creamy treat.
I didn’t speak to my friends or acknowledge my Mom
calling me to come in.
I didn’t know whether the pool was overflowing
from the leaky garden hose.
Just the ice cream jingle kept playing in my ear.


The Ice Cream Jingle by Mark Tulin


Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on April 04, 2020:

It’s more wonderful now since I’m lactose intolerant.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 04, 2020:


This sounds like a wonderful memory to have from childhood.

Ice cream is one of my favorites.

Thanks for sharing.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on March 15, 2020:

I hear you, Diane. I’ve never experienced such a crazy time. Enjoy the poem and be safe and at peace.

Diane Denison from Cincinnati Ohio on March 15, 2020:

I am sharing this again Mark. Today with so much stress on people,"A State Of Emergency" People need to laugh. You have the laughter medication

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on March 27, 2019:

Thank you, Diane. I’m very happy it stirred up nice childhood memories.

Diane Denison from Cincinnati Ohio on March 27, 2019:

Childhood memories I love this cute poem . I have ice cream sandwiches and your poem and picture stirred up a craving. Your poems are all unique

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on February 10, 2019:

That would be nice to be able to act like a kid again. Maybe we could only do it in our imagination, now. Thanks for reading, Natalie.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on February 10, 2019:

Great poem for a great indulgence! I wish as adults we could elbow each other out of the way then run screaming for the ice cream truck! I don't know why growing up means we lose the best things in life!

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 20, 2018:


manatita44 from london on December 20, 2018:

Appreciated. It is my Magnum Opus of the spiritual life and contains numerous gems from Sri Chinmoy. Gratitude … gratitude … much.

As far as I know, you are the first in the five years since Publication, who say that he has bought this book. Very proud of you. Om Shanti!

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 15, 2018:

Much thanks, manatita. I did purchase your book. Waiting on it’s delivery. Peace.

manatita44 from london on December 15, 2018:

You see. I said I'd do something for you when I had some time. I put this together not so long ago. Glad you liked it.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 15, 2018:

Absolutely beautiful, Manatita. Sounds like spiritual ice cream and a heavenly mother. What a combination!

manatita44 from london on December 15, 2018:

My Mother Makes Ice-cream

"I watched with wet, anticipatory lips,

As my mother turned the metal can,

Love flowing from her Heart as

The handle churned the delectable ingredients within.

The smell was a fragrant vanilla, a strawberry...

Essences of the most redolent design.

Aye, my tummy sang, ready to dance with lust

And insatiable greed. I watched as the can spun,

Heralding the taste of the smooth sugary rush,

On a tongue licking the cold nectar of heavenly gods.

Aye, come, sweet ecstasy.

I know the experience of thy name.

The beauty imprinted on my mother's golden heart,

Enhances the synergy of a magnificent blend

Of aroma and spices to die for.

I rise as she stops the wooden tub from spinning,

Opens the can and serves the first portion,

Into my outstretched plate."

-Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 15th December, 2018.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 11, 2018:

Yes, Jason. Being playful like a child and being mindful of life’s little pleasures is a great way to de-stress. I appreciate your comments and insights, Mark

Jason Behm from Cebu, Philippines on December 11, 2018:

Cute poem! It brings me back to my childhood memories. Thanks for this poem, I am becoming a child at heart again. It is such a nice feeling to be a child. :) Thanks to this poem. Thanks Mark. I am smiling while writing this comment. :)

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 09, 2018:

Great. I have a Kindle. I will eagerly look it up and download (after I finish my ice cream, of course). Thanks, manatita

manatita44 from london on December 09, 2018:

Interestingly, I do have some pieces, but now I have over 600 Hubs so will be hard to find. You can read my book, though. Chapter one speaks of me growing up in the Caribbean. No ice-cream. Aah!

The book is called My Guru, Sri Chinmoy: Life and Teachings, available on Amazon for about 12.99 or I can send you the Manuscript for free.

I suppose I can compose one on ice-cream, if you like. Funny I have one here also but that's about English ice-cream.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 09, 2018:

manatita, I'd be fascinated to hear about those younger days in the Caribbean via poetry. Peace, Mark

manatita44 from london on December 09, 2018:

No. I'm here in cold England. I was just reminiscence on my younger days. Ha ha.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 09, 2018:

Ice Cream in the hot Caribbean sunshine. Now that's paradise, manatita. Enjoy your holidays.

manatita44 from london on December 09, 2018:

A funny 'sugarylicious' one. Charming! I used to enjoy ice-cream from cans in the hot Caribbean sunshine. Have a great evening

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 08, 2018:

Thank you, Yancosky. Bon Appétit.

Tamara Yancosky from Uninhabited Regions on December 08, 2018:


This is a yummy jingle! I love it!



Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 08, 2018:

Thank you, Li-Jen, for your analysis. I enjoyed your interpretation of tinkle-tinkle especially. I’d like to repeat the event but it’s hard finding a white walrus. Peace, and an enjoyable weekend, Mark.

Li-Jen Hew on December 08, 2018:

Hello Mark, the poem is a nice treat especially because of the ice cream. The description of the ice cream event was well written. Childhood innocence is also captured because you still ate cold ice cream after a swim which makes the poem have a sweet feel to it. Tinkle-tinkle adds to the cuteness of the poem.Thanks for sharing. Maybe one day, you can repeat the event.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 01, 2018:

Greensleeves seems like such a beautiful jingle compared to the one Mister Softee had. It was amazing, though, how powerful a jingle could be. It was like being Pavlov’s dog. Thanks again, John.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 01, 2018:

Nice work, Mark. I can remember the ice cream trucks and the rush to find some change before they drove away. I used to like the ice cream wafer sandwich and the soft serve cones. The jingle used by most here always seemed to be the instantly recognisable Greensleeves.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 01, 2018:

Thank you, Renita Sen. I find it interesting how things like ice cream can be tied to a story or even a jingle. It’s funny, at the time it seemed trivial and with age it has become one of my favorite stories. Much peace, Mark.

Rinita Sen on December 01, 2018:

Thoroughly enjoyed this, Mark. I suppose we all have a childhood favorite among ice creams. Mine was a specific local brand of chocolate ice cream. We used to get those in little carts at street corners, before all the big brands came up and set up showy shops. I loved it because it was more creamy than icy, a taste I never found anywhere else even after paying double the amount.

Your poem is such a great path towards those memories. Loved it.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on December 01, 2018:

It’s ironic, Tim, that the the foods we love the most we find out that we are allergic to them. Now I have to settle for sherbet or non- dairy ice cream. Oh, well. I do miss those days, though. Much peace during the holidays. Mark

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on December 01, 2018:

Thanks for the memories of those wonderful ice cream summers, Mark. You brought up so many themes many of us can relate to and enjoy. I loved those ice cream days, and the summer dripping with sweetness in my cone. If summer was a memory, it would be ice cream.

Very skillfully written as is all of your poetry.

Thanks again, and may your holiday season be rewarding.

Sincerely with much respect and admiration,


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