Sunday, October 25, 2020

Examples Of The Children's Rhyme "Two Lips" Or "Tulips Together" (also known as "The Spades Go")

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides a compilation of some examples of the children's rhymes that are known as "Two Lips" (also known as "Tulips together" or "The Spades Go" or other titles (first lines).   

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, recreational, and socio-cultural purposes.

 All copyrights remain with their owners.

 Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
Some of these examples were previously included in this pancocojams post or its comment section: "The REAL Meaning Of "The Spades Go" & "The Space Go" In Playground Rhymes".

Click for the pancocojams post entitled "
Examples Of Children's Rhymes That Include The Phrase "The Spades Go" Or "The Space Goes" (except for "Two Lips"/Tulips Together" Rhymes)"

Also, click for this closely related pancocojams post entitled "The Saying "Call A Spade A Spade" (article excerpts & comments)".

PANCOCOJAMS EDITOR'S NOTES (revised Oct. 26, 2020, 11:32 PM ET)
My guess is that the children's rhymes that are most widely known in the United States as "Two Lips", "Tulips Together" or "The Spades Go" are folk processed forms of the words "true love forever" or "true love together". Notice the example given as #1 below with its words "
 true love together/twilight forever".

It's not surprising that "tulips together" would be part of a rhyme about love given this quote:,for%20Valentine's

Tulip is one of the most recognized and beloved flowers in the world. It is universally known as the symbol of love and romance, and people usually gift this flower to the person they love. Tulip flower has a very long history of existence and it was often used as a symbol in art and literature. Tulip flowers can often be found in poems and in paintings of many famous artists. Their presence represented something symbolical that needed to be transferred to the viewer or to the person reading a poem


Bright red Tulips symbolize love and passion. This is the perfect bouquet of flowers you can send to someone you love and adore. This is the right kind of message you want to pass on to this special person"...
-end of quote- 

Some versions of "two lips"/"tulips together" rhymes and certain other recreational begin with or contain the words  "the spades go" or "the space goes". I believe that "the space goes" is a folk processed form of "the spades go".  

Here's a portion of my comments from the 2012 pancocojams post "The REAL Meaning Of "The Spades Go" & "The Space Go" In Playground Rhymes

... "it's my position that, early on, when a specific meaning was given to the introductory phrase the "spades go", that phrase meant "(This is the way) Black people go (say or do this rhyme). I don't believe that any pejorative connotations were/are attributed to the words "the spades go" in children's rhymes.

Saying "the spades go" was a way of attributing the words of those rhymes or the way the rhymes were performed to Black people (or more specifically, to Black girls). That attribution lent authenticity to those rhymes and/or to their performance activities. That was because Black girls were (and still are) considered to be the arbiters of "the real way" that those songs or those hand clap rhymes were/are supposed to be sung, or chanted and performed.

This was/is partly because Black girls were/are considered to be the sources of many of these rhymes, or were/are considered to be the "coolest" or "hippest" examples of how those rhymes should be performed. This same dynamic can be found in the use of introductory phrases as "the Black people say" or "the Black people sing" in vaudeville songs. And this same dynamic can be found in past and current attitudes that mainstream American (i.e. White America) had/has about Black people being the "go to" population when it comes to learning how to do popular R&B/Hip Hop dances."...
I believe that "the spades go" is another way of saying "The Blacks go" (Note that "the Blacks" is a socially unacceptable way of saying "The Black people". 
Here's an example of the children's rhyme "Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Pop" which begins with the words "The Blacks go". That rhyme is included in a 1973 book of children's rhymes "Shimmy Shimmy Coke-Ca-Pop!, A Collection of City Children's Street Games & Rhymes", edited by John Langstaff, Carol Langstaff,   (Garden City, New York, Double Day & Co; p. 76; 1973)

"The Blacks go down down baby
Down by the roller coaster
Sweet sweet baby
I don't wanna let you go

Shimmy shimmy shimmy shimmy
shimmy shimmy-pop!
Shimmy shimmy shimmy shimmy
shimmy shimmy coke-ca-pop!
Unfortunately, I can't find my copy of that book, but I seem to recall that the editors didn't give any demographics for these rhymes except that were performed by children in United States cities. (Additions and corrections are very welcome.)

Note that "the Blacks" is a socially unacceptable form of the referent "Black people".

No racial demographics are included for this rhyme from that book or for most of the rhymes that are included in this compilation. However, my guess is that the contributors of most of these rhymes are White or otherwise are non-Black. But I wouldn't be surprised if rhymes with the words "the spades say" or "the space say" have been (or still are) chanted by Black people. (Note the example given as #1 below was collected from African American children. That said, I've been collecting children's recreational rhymes directly (mostly in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area) and indirectly (mostly online), and I don't  recall ever hearing or coming across any examples of these rhymes from Black people (or from people who online self-identified as Black.). 

Read the content and comments in the pancocojams posts that are given as links for more about this topic.

The rhyme examples that are presented in this post are given in relative chronological order (by date published off-line or online). These examples may include comments and notes about the rhyme, and/or comments about  the meaning of "spades" in that rhyme, and/or information about how the rhyme was performed.

These examples are numbered for referencing purposes only.


Example #1
The space goes true love together
twilight forever
Bring back my love to me
What is the matter?
When we get married
And have some children
We’ll name them
Sandra and Jane
and Billy and Tom
And Betty and Jimmy now,
Source: Let's Slice The Ice (Eleanor Fulton and Pat Smith; St. Louis, Missouri; Magnamusic-Baton; 1978; p. 30 [This is a collection of African Americans' children rhymes from various states.]

Example #2
"One I remember is:

Tulips together twilight in heaven bring back my love to me. It was probably 2 lips - but I was an

innocent kid back then."
-Allison, April 12, 1999

Example #3


I remember that ... didn't it start ...

The spades go tulips together

twlight in heaven

bring back my love to me?

Or something like that?

Two girls would hold hands, arms outstretched in front, and sway back and forth while singing the verses... :) 


-Butirfli@aol...[email deleted], April 13, 1999
Both Example #2 and Example #3 were found in the Archive through June 8, 2000 of the Girl's games; Clap and Rhyme section of that streetplay website. That streetplay website has changed to a members only forum. 

Example #4
Does anyone know a hand clapping song called (I think?) "Ace of Spades"? It goes like this:

Ace of spades goes two lips together,

down and forever

bring back my love to me

what is the meaning meaning meaning

of all the flow-ow-ow-ow-flowers

they tell the sto-o-o-o-story

the story of love from me to you

Then I think it goes back to Ace of Spades, but I don't remember if there are any more verses, and I don't remember the specifics of the hand clapping.

Anyone out there know anything more?


-ratgirl,, May 10, 2010
This link is still active but doesn't include the "Ace Of Spades" example.

Example #5
"I used to play a game with my friends when we were kids.  You used to

clap hands and sing a song called "The spades go tow lips together,

twilights forever, bring back my love to me."  Can you help me find

the rest of the lyrics/verses?  Thank you."
-hippo-ga, 27 Jul 2003,

Example #6
"Here's a longer version of this hand-clapping song:

"The spades go
 Two lips together
 Twilight forever
 Bring back my love to me
 I love you one and only
 I love you personally
 And that's the story
 Of L-O-V-E love
 My heart goes
 Over the likes of you
 I saw the ship sail away
 It sailed a year and a day
 My love is far far away
 And I love him too
 Oh yes I do
 Cha cha cha
 Cross cross cross
 Pumpkin pie"
-pinkfreud-ga on 27 Jul 2003,
This commenter cited a as the source for that example. are no longer

This commenter also shared several other variations of this rhyme on that page. I'm posting 
those rhymes as separate examples. The examples that have are cited that way 
without any longer address for those no longer active groups. 
Example #7
"The spades go two lips together, 
 Blood in the gutter, 
 Bring back my love to me.
 What is the meaning of all these flowers? 
 They tell the story, 
 The story of love from me to you, cha cha cha!"
-pinkfreud-ga on 27 Jul 2003,,
Example #8
"A spade is
 Two hearts in heaven
 Working together
 To bring back my true love to me
 What is the meaning
 Of all the flowers
 That tell the story
 The story of L-O-V-E
 The story of love..."
-pinkfreud-ga on 27 Jul 2003,,
from The Phrase Finder: Clapping Rhyme, [link no longer active] 

Example #9
"The spades go tulips together,
 Twilight forever,
 Bring back my love to me.
 What is the meaning 
 Of all these flowers?
 It is the meaning
 The meaning of love from me to you."
-pinkfreud-ga on 27 Jul 2003,,
Here's what pinkfreud-ga wrote about how this rhyme was played:
"Here's a description of the hand motions associated with this song,
from the last newsgroup post linked above:

"In Brooklyn, the elementary school girls would play hand games at the
same time that they chanted a rhyme. Two girls would face each other,
then pat each other's hands in a particular pattern, which had to be
learned. There were several patterns, which were taught from girl to

For example, the right hand would face up and the left hand down for
the first pat. Then the girl would clap, and reverse the orientation
of the hands. Then both hands would face upwards, then outwards, etc.
The facing girl had to do the reverse motion so they could pat each
other's hands. Each pat was in time to the chanted rhyme.

The rhymes were nonsense verses, chanted in a singsong voice." 
That commenter also shared another variant, but because that example doesn't 
include the words "two lips", "tulips", or "the spade goes", I'm not adding it to this
Example #10
"The spades go two lips together
Tie them forever
Bring back my love to me.
What is the meaning of this?
For all the fellows I've kissed
They tell the story
the story of l-o-v-e.
-DebbieO_ (from memories of childhood in near Boston, Mass. in the 1970s); I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes; December 29, 2006

Example #11
I remember parts of this song:

The spades go two lips together
tie them together
bring back my love to me.

What is the me-ee-eening
of all these flow-er-er-ers
they tel the sto-or-or-y,
the story of love,
from me to you.

I saw the ship sail away,
it sailed three years and a day,
my love is far far away,
and I love him so, oh yes I do.

My heart goes bump ba de dump bump,
bump ba de dump bump,
over my love for you.

You are my one and only,
I love you passionately,
Source: Guest, susan; I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes, 19 Jul 10 

Example #12
"My recollection of The Spades Go is from Harlem on West 144th between 7th and Lenox and Hoe Avenue, the South Bronx, ( the two places I played, home and at my grandparents') circa 1960. From the clapping games where your palms were placed on another's, and according to the rhyme chanted you either slapped your partners palms or clapped your own between in syncopation, switching whose palms were on top or bottom as another part of the performance:

The Spades go (hold hands and swing)
Two lips together (slap clap slap [switch] slap [switch] slap)
Twilight forever (slap clap slap [switch] slap [switch] slap)
Bring back my love to me ( slap clap slap [switch] slap [switch] slap [switch]slap)
What is the Me-e-ea –ning ( hold hands, swing. slap clap slap [switch] slap,[switch] slap [switch] slap)
of all these Flo-ow-ow –wers ( hold hands, swing. slap clap slap [switch] slap,[switch] slap [switch] slap)
They tell the Sto-or-ory ( hold hands, swing. slap clap slap [switch] slap,[switch] slap [switch] slap)
The story of l-o and v-e (hold hands, swing. slap clap slap [switch] slap [switch] slap)
l-o and v-e (slap clap slap [switch] slap [switch] slap)
l-o and v-e (slap clap slap [switch] slap [switch] slap)
love cha, cha cha (slap , swing, swing, swing)
-Akua Lezli Hope, January 15, 2016, [comments]

Example #13 
I was born in 1948 and grew up in Maplewood NJ. I am white and Jewish. Anyway, we played the hand clapping game The Spades. There was no racial means to it then. We had two verses, one beginning The spades go two lips together and the other My heart goes thumping thump thump. I remember very clearly walking by myself to schoo at the age of ten and making up a third verse:Oh tell me where is my lover, where is my lover,bring back my love to me. I saw a ship sail away.My love is far far away. I’ll wait ten years and a day. I love him true oh yes I do. I taught it to the other girls and three years later I heard it in summer camp in Massachusetts. I swear this is true. I still make up songs and parodies all the time. I guess things have to start somewhere. Thought you might be interested."
Nancy, July 28, 2019, [comments]

Example #14
"I grew up in western Canada and we said “they say that two lips together, tie them together, bring back my love to me, etc..."
-Unknown, April 12, 2020, [comments]

[Examples Added at 12:00 AM, Oct 27, 2020...Thanks Google Search!]

Each of these examples are from [contributors Contributors names on that site are given with an email address which I deleted. The numbers continue from above.]

Example #15

For spades go (start holding hands and swinging them 4 times)

Tulips together, twilight in heaven

bring back my love to me

what is the me- me - meaning

of all the flow ow ow flowers

it tells the store or or ry

the story of love from me to you

when we get mar ah ah arried

where shall we li i i i ive

in Sunny spai ai ai ain

or gay par ri ri ri ri ri ri?

our hearts go boom body boom boom (hands in fists bumping on top of each other)

boom body boom boom

over the love for you!

I love you eternally (now you slap pinkies softly)

our love is special indeed

and thats the store or or ry

the story of

L.....O......V......E.... (now you clap loudly palms up then down)

Love from me to you! CHA CHA CHA! (end with hi-fi'ing loudly)

Example #5
"This the version of tulips together I was taught by my mother:

 The spades goes

Tulips together, tie them together

bring back my love to me

what is the me- me - me meaning

of all these flow ow ow owers

They tell the store or or ory

The story of love from me to you


The Ship sailed over the ocean

over the ocean

over the big blue sea


It sailed for many a day

it sailed for hours away


This is our store or or ory

Our story of love from me to you! CHA CHA CHA!"
-rach..., 3/15/15

Example #16
"Oh there are two lips together tied up forever so they will never part

What is the meaning, meaning

Of all these flowers, flowers

They tell a story, story

The story of my love to you from me

My heart goes thumpitty, thump thump, thumpitty, thump thump

Over my love for you

My lips go tinkitty, tink tink, tinkitty, tink tink

Over my love for you"
-alp.., 3/3/17

Example #17
"Spades was always my favorite. Online, I cannot find the version we did, which is similar to the others, but different.

The spades go

Two lips together

Tie them forever

Bring back my love to me

What is the Me he ha ning

Of all these flo ha ha wers

This is my sto ho hory

My story of love

From me to you.


My heart goes

thumpatity thump thump

thumpatity thump thump

Over the site of you

You are my one and only

I love you per son ally

This is my sto ho hory

My story of love

From me to you.


My eyes go

blinkety blink blink

blinkety blink blink

Over the sight of you

You are my one and only

I love you per son ally

This is my sto ho hory

My story of love

From me to you.

Cha cha cha
-lapi.., 3/14/18

Example #18
On Wednesday, April 7, 1999 at 3:00:00 AM UTC-4, Sandyfour wrote:

... Anyone remember Tulips together (a hand

clapping song)?? I remember the begining starting "tulips together...tie them

 together (I think)...bring back my love to me". Thats as far as I get!



"What is the meaning,

Of all these flowers

They tell the story

The story of love

From me to you


When we get married

Where shall we live

In sunny Spain

Or Gay Pari(s)

Wee Wee Wee Wee (clap, clap, clap)
-, 3/19/18

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