Day # 7 – 30 Days, 30 Readings: Theodore Roethke’s “The Kitty-Cat Bird” for National Poetry Month

A Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) on ...
A Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) on a fence, taken in Urbana, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 7 was a lot of fun to record. We enjoyed a good lunch of burgers and dogs and headed up the street for some inspiration and fresh air. Other than the possible reading of “The Kitty-Cat Bird” (Micah’s request), we were really not sure what to expect. Spontaneity was Virginia’s word for the day.


The sidewalk chalk was an idea I got from the lovely Christine at “Life is an Exquisite Journey.”

The quote in chalk was from the final lines of Dr. Suess’s book Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So…get on your way!”

Micah filmed the reading; I stumbled through filming the rest. Josiah and Jonathan made a valiant attempt at Axis of Awesome‘s “Four Chord Song.” I’m not sure what all Jon was strumming, but I know some of it he just made up spur of the moment. Like I said, it was that kind of day. Giving you any ideas yet for an outing during poetry month? We are thinking a whole group of us at the Marina writing on the sidewalks there could be fun!

The Kitty-Cat Bird

The Kitty-Cat Bird, he sat on a Fence.
Said the Wren, your Song isn’t worth 10 cents.
You’re a Fake, you’re a Fraud, you’re a Hor-rid Pretense!
–Said the Wren to the Kitty-Cat Bird.

You’ve too many Tunes, and none of them Good:
I wish you would act like a bird really should,
Or stay by yourself down deep in the wood,
–Said the Wren to the Kitty-Kat Bird.

You Mew like a Cat, you grate like a Jay:
You squeak like a Mouse that’s lost in the Hay,
I wouldn’t be You for even a day,
–Said the Wren to the Kitty-Cat Bird.

The Kitty-Cat Bird, he moped and he cried.
Then a real cat came with a Mouth so Wide,
That the Kitty-Cat Bird just hopped inside;
–Did the Kitty –the Kitty-Cat Bird.

You’d better not laugh; and don’t say “Pooh!”
Until you have thought this Sad Tale through;
Be sure that whatever you are is you
–Or you’ll end like the Kitty-Cat Bird.

Theodore Roethke

8 Comments Add yours

  1. David,
    I’ve thought about doing the sidewalk chalk thing with a poem and the kids. We’ve done stuff like that in the past and I saw it listed somewhere else as a challenge for this month… Fun times!




  2. sonofwalt says:

    It’s really a lot of fun, especially when you just have enough good things in the mix. Plan a little bit, but have lots of room for whatever just miraculously happens. 🙂


  3. sonofwalt says:

    I just realized that I messed up on the annotations and just got them edited a day after the fact. Yikes. I needs me some sleep…


  4. John says:

    Looks like a fun time!

    I like your reading on this one — it’s much more lively and animated, as if you’re responding to the words, rather than just reciting them… if that makes sense, and doesn’t sound too critical 🙂


    1. sonofwalt says:

      Well, I have been known to be too animated, or too emotional. so often I try to tone it down. It’s sometimes a difficult balance to have just the right emotion for delivery so that the poem doesn’t come off sounding sappy or overdone. I try to let the poem speak for itself, but bring just the right tone to each, depending on the poem. I think my one for the 9th is a good example of that. This one just called for a children’s story telling tone.


  5. Bobby says:

    can you explain the poem to me?


    1. Well, I could give it a try. There is a simple explanation, and then there is one that’s maybe a step deeper. But maybe you could teach me a little as well. Maybe you find something in there that I didn’t see. Why don’t you tell me what you got out of the poem and we can go from there?


  6. Reblogged this on David J. Bauman and commented:

    So while Micah is ahead of me and ready to share with you his next recording for National Poetry Month, I am running behind. But, hey! I finally got my taxes done, so there’s something.

    So as we arise from this weekend into the full light of National Library Week, here’s a flashback from six years ago when my boys, their mother, and I hung out in the park from the library where I used to work. We wrote poems with sidewalk chalk, sang songs, and of course recorded some poetry. Check it out!


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