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My Cat

My cat rubs my leg
and starts to purr
with a soft little rumble,
a soft little whirr,
as if she had motors
inside of her.

I say, “Nice kitty,”
and stroke her fur,
and though she can’t talk
and I can’t purr,
she understands me,
and I do her.

                                                            * * *

My Puppy

It’s funny
my puppy
knows just how I feel:

When I’m happy
he’s yappy
and squirms like an eel.

When I’m grumpy
he’s slumpy
and stays at my heel.

It’s funny
my puppy
knows such a great deal.


Aileen Fisher (1906 – 2002) American author of many books for children, both fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose.  She is a NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Award-winning poet. This Award is presented only once every three years for a deserving poet’s sustained contribution to poetry for children.   I Heard a Bluebird Sing:  Children Select Their Favorite Poems by Aileen Fisher is a lovely recent anthology of her verse, and it’s here that I found  “My Cat” and “My Puppy”.   Published in 2002, by Wordsong;  Bernice E. Cullinan, Editor and Jennifer Emery, Illustrator.

Note, in “My Cat”, the sound er . . . the various spellings we need to use to create the identical sound:  er in “fisher” (and “Fisher”), “her”, “verse”, ir in “whirr”, ur in “purr” and “fur”, or in “motor”, “word” (could also have ear as in “pearl” or “learn”; ar as in “sugar”; re can replace er in British spelling, “metre”, “fibre” etc.)…Now imagine you’re 20 or 40 or 60 years old and just learning English:  Wow!  There’s a lot to get your mind and memory around, that’s for sure!  Keep at it, reading, reading as much as you can, aloud, if possible.  Your ability and facility with the language will grow daily.