Poem Activity

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Mr Kartoffel

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Poem Activity

Have fun with the poem by trying this...

It might be very entertaining to meet Mr and Mrs Kartoffel. They cheerfully celebrate the pleasures of eccentricity. Right from the start of the poem we hear about their strange and often hilarious behaviour.

Experiment with developing three voices in your recitation. What voice will you use for the narrator and what voices will you use for Mr and Mrs Kartoffel?

The rhyming pairs of lines speed the poem along. You want your listeners to enjoy that cheery energy and the sounds of the rhymes. You also want them to hear and enjoy all the surprising things Mr and Mrs Kartoffel get up to.

Look carefully at the punctuation of the poem and use it as a guide to pacing the poem. Pause for a heartbeat at commas and dashes, and a little longer at full stops, semi-colons, question marks and exclamation marks.

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Mr Kartoffel’s a whimsical man;
He drinks his beer from a watering-can,
And for no good reason that I can see
He fills his pockets with china tea.
He parts his hair with a knife and fork
And takes his ducks on a Sunday walk.
Says he, “If my wife and I should choose
To wear our stockings outside our shoes,
Plant tulip bulbs in the baby’s pram
And eat tobacco instead of jam,
And fill the bath with cauliflowers,
That’s nobody’s business at all but ours.”
Says Mrs. K., “I may choose to travel
With a sack of grass or a sack of gravel,
Or paint my toes, one black, one white,
Or sit on a bird’s nest half the night –
But whatever I do that is rum or rare,
I rather think that is my affair.
So fill up your pockets with stamps and string,
And let us be ready for anything!”
Says Mr. K. to his whimsical wife,
“How can we face the storms of life,
Unless we are ready for anything?
So if you’ve provided the stamps and the string,
Let us pump up the saddle and harness the horse
And fill him with carrots and custard and sauce,
Let us leap on him lightly and give him a shove
And it’s over the sea and away, my love!”

Mr Kartoffel

by James Reeves