The Owl & The Pussy Cat: 1982

A nonsense poem written by Edward Lear. It was first published in 1870 in the American magazine and again the following year in Lear’s own book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets. Lear wrote the poem for a three-year-old girl, Janet Symonds, the daughter of Lear’s friend and fellow poet John Addington Symonds and his wife Catherine Symonds. The term “runcible”, used for the phrase “runcible spoon”, was invented for the poem.

 “The Owl and the Pussy Cat was a good show; a musical of sorts, and it might justify a future TADS production. We rehearsed it in a rather bleak, dark room at the Abbey Hall – now demolished, it was where the Refectory is now. I was ‘the Dong with the humorous nose’ and had been given a long plastic nose made out of a torch, so it lit up will a red glow. One evening there was a knock on the door and I answered it, with the nose a-glow. The elderly lady parishioner outside was very alarmed.”

Geoff Guy