Friday, February 13, 2009

Poetry Friday: The Owl and the Pussycat

Here is my selection of a “love” poem for the Friday before Valentine’s Day. I used to recite The Owl and the Pussycat for my elementary students often in class. I enjoyed the rhythm and the flow of the poem and Lear’s “runcible” spoon and Bong-tree.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat
by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

If you are looking for a terrific picture book edition of The Owl and the Pussycat, find yourself a copy of Edward Lear’s popular poem illustrated by Stephane Jorisch and published by Kids Can Press (2007). It’s a title in the publisher’s Visions in Poetry series.

Check out Fuse #8’s review of The Owl and the Pussycat.

Alison Morris of Shelftalker selected Jorisch’s illustrated version of Lear’s poem as one of her favorite children’s poetry books of 2007. Read her post about the poetry books here.

Read an interview with Stephane Jorisch about his art for his illustrated version of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky at Embracing the Child.


At Blue Rose Girls, I have Anne Bradstreet’s To My Dear and Loving Husband and links to other children's and adult poems perfect for sharing on Valentine’s Day.

Kelly Herold has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Big A, little a.


Myth said...

A big sentimental favourite of mine! My favourite version is Jan Brett's illustrations in a board book... so much extra detail in the pictures and perfect for sharing with babies and toddlers :D

Elaine Magliaro said...


I haven't seen Brett's book--but I really do like the art in Jorisch's picture book version.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just read this poem with my daughter (a third-grader), who enjoyed it and was especially curious about a "runcible spoon" . . . Fun! Thanks for sharing!