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Poems by Heart

Dear Hillcrest pupils
We are setting you the exciting challenge of learning a poem off by heart and performing it to your class.
Below this letter, you will find a selection of poems for each year group. Choose the one that suits your fancy and then spend the next week or so learning it off by heart.
Alternatively, you may have a favourite poem of your own that you would like to perform for your class. If so, you are more than welcome to make this your poem for the performance.
Your teacher will organise a class recital during the week commencing Monday, June 28th. This will be your chance to perform your poem for your classmates and also a moment for you to enjoy their interpretation of their chosen poems.
One child from each class will then go on to perform in front of each year group as part of our Poetry Day on July 1st. We understand that performing a poem in front of an audience can be very exciting but also quite daunting, so here are a few tips to help you get performance ready:
Top Tips for Performance Poetry
  • Tell the story
  • Think about how you use your voice Volume, tone, intonation and pace
  • Think about how you use your body Facial expressions, eye contact and physical gestures 
  • Think about how you use the space.  Poems can work brilliantly with lots of movement, but can be equally powerful with hardly any 
  • Practise, practise, practise You will have more than a week before your class recital, so don’t leave it until the final evening to learn. 
  • Harness the power of our four elements 
  • Be brave
  • Have fun

Kind Regards
Ciaran McIntyre
P.S. The poems below are in order of year groups, just scroll down until you hit the right one.
If you fancy a different challenge, whichever year you're in, scroll right to the bottom - Miss Wilson has given us a poem in French and one in Latin (well, sort of!) 
Chop Chop
Chop, Chop, Choppity Chop.
Cut off the bottom and cut off the top.
What there is left, we put in the pot.
Chop, Chop, Choppity Chop.
Pop, pop, popcorn,
Popping in the pot!
Pop, pop, popcorn,
Eat it while it’s hot!
Pop, pop, popcorn,
Butter on the top!
When I eat popcorn,
I can’t stop!
Open A Book
By Jane Baskwill
Open a book
And you will find
People and places of every kind
Open a book
And you can be
Anything that you want to be
Open a book
And you can share
Wondrous worlds you find in there
Open a book
And I will too
You read to me
And I’ll read to you
Now We Are Six
By A.A Milne
When I was one, I had just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three, I was hardly me.
When I was four, I was not much more.
When I was five, I was just alive.
But now I am six, I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.
Saw My Teacher On A Saturday
By Dave Crawley
I saw my teacher on a Saturday!
I can’t believe it’s true!
I saw her buying groceries,
like normal people do! 
She reached for bread and turned around,
and then she caught my eye. 
She gave me a smile and said, “Hello.”
I thought that I would die! 
“Oh, hi… hello, Miss Appleton,”
I mumbled like a fool.
I guess I thought that teacher types
spend all their time at school. 
To make the situation worse,
my mum was at my side. 
So many rows of jars and cans.
So little room to hide. 
Oh please, I thought,
don’t tell my mom what I did yesterday! 
I closed my eyes and held my breath
and hoped she’d go away.
Some people think it’s fine
to let our teachers walk about.
But when it comes to Saturdays,
they shouldn’t let them out!
The Little Turtle
by Vachel Lindsay
There was a little turtle.
He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
He climbed on the rocks.
He snapped at a mosquito.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.
He caught the mosquito.
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn’t catch me.
As Soon As Fred Gets Out Of Bed by Jack Prelutsky
As soon as Fred gets out of bed,
his underwear goes on his head.
His mother laughs, “Don’t put it there,
a head’s no place for underwear!”
But near his ears, above his brains,
is where Fred’s underwear remains.
At night when Fred goes back to bed,
he deftly plucks it off his head.
His mother switches off the light and softly croons,
“Good night! Good night!”
And then, for reasons no one knows,
Fred’s underwear goes on his toes.
I Opened A Book by Julia Donaldson
I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
If All The World Were Paper By Joseph Coelho
If all the world were paper
I would fold up my gran
and take her everywhere I go.
I would laminate my baby sister in bubble wrap
and lay her to sleep in unbound fairy-tale book pages
and should she get scared:
Rip every fear,
Shred every scream,
Tear every tear.
If all the world were paper
I would re-bind my grandfather,
smooth out the dog-ears to all his stories,
place his younger days in a zoetrope
and flush the harrowing chapters
down an ink-gurgling well.
If all the world were paper,
kind deeds would be post-it notes
that stuck to the doer in ever growing trails,
so we would always remember,
friends would come with perforated lines
so you could keep their best bits with you at all times.
Gran, Can You Rap?
By Jack Ousby
Gran was in her chair she was taking a nap
When I tapped her on the shoulder to see if she could rap.
Gran can you rap? Can you rap? Can you Gran?
And she opened one eye and she said to me,
Man, I'm the best rapping Gran this world's ever seen
I'm a tip-top, slip-slap, rap-rap queen. 
And she rose from the chair in the corner of the room
And she started to rap with a bim-bam-boom,
And she rolled up her eyes and she rolled round her head
And as she rolled by this is what she said,
I'm the best rapping gran this world's ever seen
I'm a nip-nap, yip-yap, rap-rap queen.
Then she rapped past my Dad and she rapped past my mother,
She rapped past me and my little baby brother.
She rapped her arms narrow she rapped her arms wide,
She rapped through the door and she rapped outside.
She's the best rapping Gran this world's ever seen
She's a drip-drop, trip-trap, rap-rap queen.
She rapped down the garden she rapped down the street,
The neighbours all cheered and they tapped their feet.
She rapped through the traffic lights as they turned red
As she rapped round the corner this is what she said,
I'm the best rapping Gran this world's ever seen
I'm a flip-flop, hip-hop, rap-rap queen.
She rapped down the lane she rapped up the hill,
And she disappeared she was rapping still.
I could hear Gran's voice saying, Listen Man,
Listen to the rapping of the rap-rap Gran.
I'm the best rapping Gran this world's ever seen
I'm a - tip-top, slip-slap,
nip-nap, yip-yap,
hip-hop, trip-trap,
touch yer cap, take a nap,
happy, happy, happy, happy,
What Is Pink?
By Christina Rosetti
What is pink?
A rose is pink
By the fountain’s brink.
What is red?
A poppy’s red In its barley bed.
What is blue?
The sky is blue
Where the clouds float through.
What is white?
A swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow?
Pears are yellow,
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green?
The grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet?
Clouds are violet In the summer twilight.
What is orange?
Why, an orange,
Just an orange!
When Betty Eats Spaghetti
By Colin West
When Betty eats spaghetti,
She slurps, she slurps, she slurps,
And when she’s finished slurping,
She burps, she burps, she burps.
There’s A Dragon In The Classroom
By Charles Thomson
There’s a dragon in the classroom:
its body is a box,
its head’s a plastic waste-bin,
its eyes are broken clocks,
its legs are cardboard tubes,
its claws are toilet rolls,
its tongue’s my dad’s old tie
(that’s why it’s full of holes).
‘Oh, what a lovely dragon,’
our teacher smiled and said
‘You are a pretty dragon,’
she laughed and stroked its head.
‘Oh no, I’m not,’ he snorted,
SNAP! SNAP! he moved his jaw
and chased our screaming teacher
along the corridor.
Homework Oh Homework
By Jack Prelutsky
Homework! Oh, Homework!
I hate you! You stink!
I wish I could wash you away in the sink,
if only a bomb would explode you to bits.
Homework! Oh, homework!
You're giving me fits.
I'd rather take baths with a man-eating shark,
or wrestle a lion alone in the dark,
eat spinach and liver,
pet ten porcupines,
than tackle the homework,
my teacher assigns.
Homework! Oh, homework!
you're last on my list,
I simply can't see why you even exist,
if you just disappeared
it would tickle me pink.
Homework! Oh, homework!
I hate you! You stink!
The Silliest Teacher in School
By Darren Sardelli
Our teacher gave detention
to the fountains in the hall.
She handed extra homework
to the artwork on the wall. 
We saw her point a finger
at a banner and a sign.
She said their bad behaviour
was completely out of line.
The principal approached her
and said, “What is all this fuss?
I heard you tried to punish
all the tires on a bus.
“You’ve made the teachers angry
by disrupting all their classes,
so if you want to keep this job,
you have to wear your glasses!”
The Lion and Albert
By Marriott Edgar
There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool,
That's noted for fresh air and fun,
And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.
A grand little lad was young Albert
All dressed in his best; quite a swell
With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle
The finest that Woolworth's could sell.
They didn't think much to the Ocean
The waves, they were fiddlin' and small
There was no wrecks and nobody drownded
In fact, nothing to laugh at, at all.
So, seeking for further amusement
They paid and went into the zoo
Where they'd lions and tigers and camels
And old ale and sandwiches too.
There were one great big lion called Wallace
His nose were all covered with scars
He lay in a somnolent posture
With the side of his face on the bars.
Now Albert had heard about lions
How they was ferocious and wild
To see Wallace lying so peaceful
Well, it didn't seem right to the child.
So straight 'way the brave little feller
Not showing a morsel of fear
Took his stick with its 'orse's 'ead 'andle
And shoved it in Wallace's ear.
You could see the lion didn't like it
For giving a kind of a roll
He pulled Albert inside the cage with 'im
And swallowed the little lad 'ole
Then Pa, who had seen the occurrence
And didn't know what to do next
Said 'Mother! Yon lions 'et Albert'
And Mother said 'Well, I am vexed!'
Then Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Quite rightly, when all's said and done
Complained to the Animal Keeper
That the lion had eaten their son.
The keeper was quite nice about it
He said, 'What a nasty mishap
Are you sure it's your boy he's eaten?'
Pa said, 'Am I sure? There's his cap!'
The manager had to be sent for
He came and he said 'What's to do?'
Pa said 'Yon lion's 'et Albert
And 'im in his Sunday clothes, too.'
Then Mother said,
'Right's right, young feller
I think it's a shame and a sin
For a lion to go and eat Albert
And after we've paid to come in.'
The manager wanted no trouble
He took out his purse right away
Saying, 'How much to settle the matter?'
And Pa said, 'What do you usually pay?'
But Mother had turned a bit awkward
When she thought where her Albert had gone
She said, 'No! someone's got to be summonsed!'
So that was decided upon.
Then off they went to the Police Station
In front of the Magistrate chap
They told 'im what happened to Albert
And proved it by showing his cap.
The Magistrate gave his opinion
That no one was really to blame
And he said that he hoped the Ramsbottoms
Would have further sons to their name.
At that Mother got proper blazing
'And thank you, sir, kindly,' said she
'What waste all our lives raising children
To feed ruddy lions? Not me!'
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone
By WH Auden
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Macavity -The Mystery Cat
by T.S. Elliott
Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw -
For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime - Macavity’s not there!
Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime - Macavity’s not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air -
But I tell you once and once again,
Macavity’s not there!
Macavity’s a ginger cat, he’s very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he’s half asleep, he’s always wide awake.
Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
For he’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square -
But when a crime’s discovered, then Macavity’s not there!
He’s outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard’s.
And when the larder’s looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke’s been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair -
Ay, there’s the wonder of the thing! Macavity’s not there!
And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty’s gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair -
But it’s useless to investigate - Macavity’s not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
‘It must have been Macavity!’ - but he’s a mile away.
You’ll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs;
Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.
Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place - MACAVITY WASN’T THERE!
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime
The Tyger
By William Blake
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
By William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
And from Miss Wilson, for any year group....
Par Maurice Careme
J'aime mon pere,
J'aime ma mere,
J'aime mes soeurs,
J'aime mes freres,
De tout mon coeur
Et tante et oncle.
Ou, tout le monde,
Ou, tous, sauf moi
Quand je n'ai pas
Mon chocolat.
Here's the translation...
I love my dad,
I love my mum,
I love my sisters, 
I love my brothers,
with all my heart
and aunty and uncle,
Yes, everyone,
Yes, all, except me
when I don't have my chocolate!!!
This little ditty is written in Latin, however if you listen closely, when it's read, it also sounds like English.
Which sounds like...
Caesar had some jam for tea, 
Brutus had a rat, 
Caesar sick in omnibus, 
Brutus sick in hat.
The words really mean: 
I, Caesar, am already here by chance
Brutus was present
Caesar thus in all things
Brutus thus in but