National Poetry Day: Share a poem

National Poetry Day: Share a poem
This National Poetry Day we wanted to share with you a poem that we love.
We’ve picked The Owl & The Pussy Cat by Edward Lear as it’s such good fun. Some poems are profound and others are silly (this one’s definitely silly), and it’s important to remember that there’s poetry out there for everyone! Whether you write it, read it or listen to it, poetry can have a really valuable place in your life.

To listen to The Owl & The Pussy Cat press the play button just below the ‘say it with a poem’ image at the top of this page.



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 dinèd 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.


This poem comes from Nonsense Drolleries by Edward Lear. The book also contains an equally fun, but lesser known poem, The Duck and The Kangaroo.

Some notes on the poem: The Owl & The Pussy Cat was first published in 1871. Edward Lear made up the word ‘runcible’ in this poem. No one is really sure exactly what a ‘runcible spoon’ is – a possible definition is a small fork with three prongs, one having a sharp edge, and curved like a spoon, though it’s likely to have adopted this meaning after Lear made the word up. Whilst the owl is depicted as the bride in these pictures, he is often considered to be male in the poem, and the cat female (although, as a nonsense poem, the characters may be whatever you wish!).


This and many other poems are available in the public domain and are documented in Project Gutenberg. If you find a poem on Project Gutenberg that you’d really like to hear read aloud, get in touch and we’ll see if we can get it onto the blog!

To find out more about National Poetry Day, including an option to download a free book of poetry, check out their website. There’s events on all around the country, and lots of different ways to get involved.

Which poem would you most like to share?


This post was written and read by Holly Newson.

Picture credit: Illustrations by William Foster; Featured Image National Poetry Day

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