The Poetry Place

Baby’s drinking song

Students could learn a lot from Kirkup’s technique here.  Although aimed at a very young audience, James Kirkup’s poem has many of the elements of a good rap: rhyme, repetition, pronounced rhythm, wit – and a structure which makes it impossible to punctuate – except at the end.

 

   Sip a little

Sup a little

   From your little

Cup a little

   Sup a little

Sip a little

   Put it to your

Lip a little

   Tip a little

Tap a little

   Not into your

Lap or it’ll

   Drip a little

Drop a little

   On the table

Top a little.

 

As the activity on page 34 suggests, students could do worse than mark the rhythm. A word processed version (copy and paste the one above) gives the opportunity to use emphasisers  such as bold or highlight for this purpose.

 

   Sip a little

Sup a little

   From your little

Cup a little

 

- although, to my ear, ‘from’ is stressed slightly less than the other initial syllables as a more refined marking would indicate:

 

   Sip a little

Sup a little

   From your little

Cup a little

 

If you presented the rhyme to students in the form below, would they know where to put the line breaks?  Try it and see if there are any disagreements.

 

sip a little sup a little from your little cup a little sup a little sip a little put it to your lip a little tip a little tap a little not into your  lap or it’ll drip a little drop a little on the table top a little

 

They may, at first, try putting the rhyme words at the end of lines:

 

sip a little sup

a little from your little cup

a little sup a little sip

a little put it to your lip

a little tip a little tap

a little not into your  lap

or it’ll drip a little drop

a little on the table top

a little

 

- which almost works!

 

Having explored the example, get them to experiment by using the pattern for some poems of their own.  They don’t have to be as long as Kirkup’s poem.

 

Hip a little

Hop a little

At the little

Bus stop a little

Flip a little

Flop a little

Mind the traffic

Cop a little

 

 

Stick a while

Stay a while

Don’t go on your

Way a while

 

 

You can always send some of the results to poet@teachit.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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