Ready for a fun English lesson? Today I'll teach you English with a funny poem called "The Owl and the Pussycat"! I've chosen an easy poem and will read it with you one line at a time, so you can understand everything. You'll learn vocabulary and gain knowledge about British culture with this classic poem, written by Edward Lear in 1871. Reading poetry and immersing yourself in English culture is a great way to learn the language. So is taking the quiz at http://www.engvid.com/learn-english-with-a-poem/ , and subscribing to my YouTube channel!
Hello. I'm Gill at www.engvid.com, and today we're going to do something a little bit different. We're going to look at an English poem. And I know you're probably thinking: "Poetry, that's too difficult. English prose is hard enough, but poetry, ah no." But I'm hoping to make you realize that it is possible to read an English poem and to understand it.
I've chosen quite an easy, straightforward one. It's called "The Owl and the Pussy-cat", which is in the first line, here. And it was written by a poet called Edward Lear. Edward Lear in 1871. Okay. And Edward Lear was well-known for his humorous writing, so a lot of his writing is funny, it makes you smile, it makes you laugh. So, hopefully this poem will do that for you. And so, it tells a story. It's in three sections. This is the first of three sections, and I'm just going to go through it with you and I will explain any words that I think maybe need explaining, and I hope you enjoy it. Okay? So, I'll read it.
"The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea". Okay? Now, the Owl, do you know what an "owl" is? You probably know what a bird is. A bird that flies? Well, an owl is the kind of bird that is awake at night. It has big, round eyes. If you look it up on Google images, you'll see lots of pictures of owls. Okay? So we have a bird, here, an owl. And a pussy-cat. I'm sure you know what a cat is. We use the word "pussy-cat", it's a sort of a comic name or a... An affectionate name for a cat. People say: "Oh, puss, puss, puss. Here, pussy, pussy, pussy." So, it's a name for a cat. And children also say: "Oh, pussy-cat, pussy-cat". So, "pussy" is a cat, but here, it's being called "Pussy-cat" with a hyphen.
So: "The Owl and the Pussy-cat", so we have a bird and a cat. Okay? Which usually, birds and cats don't usually make friends. Usually, the cat is going to attack the bird and kill it, probably. But in this poem, because it's Edward Lear and because he's being funny, he's put a bird and a cat together, and they're not just friends, but they're going on a journey together. They're on a trip together, so we'll see what happens, shall we?
So: "The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea", on the sea. So even more dangerous. "Went to sea In a beautiful pea green boat". So, they're in a boat. You know the word "boat" on the sea. "Boat". It's "pea green". It's not just a green boat, it's the colour of a green pea, the vegetable that you eat. Little green peas. So it's pea green. We have all sorts of shades of green. Olive green, sage green, light green, dark green, pea green. So the boat is the colour of a green pea. No particular reason. It just... It just sort of fits for the rhythm, because rhythm is important. "In a beautiful pea green boat", something had to go in there.
Okay, so what did they take with them? "They took some honey". You know honey? The sweet stuff that the bees go to flowers and then they make honey? Honey, it's like jam, only it's honey in a pot. Very sweet, you put it on the bread and eat it, or you put it in the pudding or something. "They took some honey, and plenty of money", well that was sensible. They're not very sensible, I don't think, going on to the sea in a boat, but at least they've been sensible enough to take some money with them.
Okay, "plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note." Okay. Well, here, this is a modern five pound note. It has the Queen on it. Okay? And some of the pictures on the back. Five pound note. But that's quite small compared with in 1871, a five pound note I think was a lot bigger than this, and it was a big white sheet of paper. So much easier to wrap other things in. You wouldn't be able to wrap much in this little thing. You can't buy much with this either these days.
Anyway, ah: "They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up". Wrapped. So if you wrap something up, you put it inside, and you fold the pieces over and that's wrapped up. Okay? "Wrapped up in a five pound note." I just hope that the honey and the money didn't get all, eww, that would be horrible. I hope they managed to keep it separate. Anyway: "Wrapped up in a five pound note." Right.
"The Owl looked up to the stars above", so it's nighttime and the stars are in the sky, little stars in the sky. Looking up at the sky is very romantic at night. "The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang", a singing owl. You see? I told you it was funny.