Welcome back to my series on transforming well-knowing poems into something more fitting to the world we are experiencing right now. In my last post, I explained my belief that appreciating and adapting what is already available to us instead of always going on the hunt for the next best thing. I started my poetry in lockdown series with my version of William Wordsworth’s classic poem Daffodils and today I’m tackling another classic piece of literature.

To refresh on my process, here is my method to adapting poems which might be handy if you are interested in trying this for yourself:


  1. Begin with a well-known poem
  2. Read several times to interpret the meaning and understand the form (stanza and line length, rhyme scheme)
  3. Find the language to fit your ideas – initially, I chose poems that had a similar meaning to what I wanted to achieve as I found this easier.
  4. If you want to challenge yourself, I sometimes count syllables to retain the full rhythm.

For this week’s adapted poem I have challenged myself to transform Edward Lear’s well-known poem ‘The Owl and The Pussy-cat’ into a narrative about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on nature and the animal world whilst we have all been locked inside.


Poetry Locked Down: The Owl and The Pussy-cat

Photo by Pacto Visual on Unsplash

The Owl and the Pussy-cat met at night

By some central high-rise flats,

The Owl seemed distant, the Cat was indifferent,

But they met and that was that.

The Owl looked up and caught Cat’s eye,

“I’ve not seen you here before.”

“O that is true! O true, but why,

but why,

but why,

That is true but I can’t think why.”


Owl thought then replied, “They are inside!

I think that may be it!

We can come out, with no humans about,

Music hushed and lights unlit.

A lack of pollution has been the solution,

For us to finally meet.”

They smiled at each other no longer under cover,

And the Owl’s heart skipped a beat,

A beat,

A beat,

The Owl’s heart skipped a beat.


In the centre of the city it can be a pity,

When birdsong goes unheard,

With humans locked-in, birds have flocked in,

Our space and theirs has blurred.

Times are tragic, but there is a little magic,

Within this planet of ours,

Imagine that, the Owl and the Cat,

Dancing by the light of the stars,

The stars,

The stars,

Dancing by the light of the stars.


Join me again next week for another addition to my poetry in lockdown series and if you feel inspired to write one yourself then reach out to me at Dragonfly Paint to talk all things creative.