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Children's Poetry
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Poetry Break # 11

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Poetry Break # 11: A Poem with a Refrain or Chorus

 

Introduction: Ask students how many have cats as pets. On the board, brainstorm a list of common cat behaviors and personality quirks. Next read the poem.  When you read it a second time, invite students to chime in whenever they hear the refrains, "Mew, mew, mew" and "a proud, mysterious cat."

 

The Mysterious Cat

 

I saw a proud, mysterious cat,

I saw a proud, mysterious cat,

Too proud to catch a mouse or rat -

Mew, mew, mew.

 

But catnip she would eat, and purr,

But catnip she would eat, and purr.

And goldfish she did much prefer -

Mew, mew, mew.

 

I saw a cat  - 'twas but a dream,

I saw a cat  - 'twas but a dream,

Who scorned the slave that brought her cream -

Mew, mew, mew.

 

Unless the slave were dressed is style,

Unless the slave were dressed in style,

And knelt before her all the while -

Mew, mew, mew.

 

Did you ever hear of a thing like that?

Did you ever hear of a thing like that?

Did you ever hear of a thing like that?

Oh, what a proud mysterious cat.

Oh, what a proud mysterious cat.

Oh, what a proud mysterious cat.

Mew...Mew...Mew.

 

Poem by Vachel Lilndsay. Taken from Sing a Song of Popcorn, edited by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1988, p. 65. ISBN: 059043974X.

 

Extension: Read several cat poems by other authors. Divide the class into small groups, and ask each group to select a different cat poem to perform as a group. Help students practice the words, facial expressions, and movements. Hold a "cat performance," a time when groups perform their poems for the entire class. If students enjoy the experience, have them perform the poems for a different class at your grade level.