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The Owl

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Poem Activity

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This is a great poem to learn by heart but before you do that answer these four questions to help you understand the poem. You might need a dictionary to answer some of them. 1) What is a belfry? 2) What might the ‘whirring sail’ be? 3) What is a roundelay? 4) What might the owl’s ‘five wits’ be? Now try and learn the poem by heart and when you are ready recite it to other people.

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When cats run home and light is come,
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

When merry milkmaids click the latch,
And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch
Twice or thrice his roundelay,
Twice or thrice his roundelay;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

The Owl

by Alfred Lord Tennyson