A boy saw a yeah-coz-fingee
Standing at the bus stop.
If you see a thing like a yeah-coz-fingee
Suddenly you just stop.
‘You look strange!’ said the yeah-coz-fingee.
‘Me?’ said the boy. ‘What about you?
Why have you only got one eye?’ the boy asked.
The creature said, ‘Why have you got two!’
‘Tell me,’ it said. ‘Do you see two streets,
Two bus stops and two of me?’
‘Of course I don’t!’ the boy replied
To the creature, who came up to his knee.
The yeah-coz-fingee looked carefully
‘You’ve only got on mouth,’ it shouted.
‘One mouth is all I need,’ said the boy.
It was something he had never doubted.
‘You mean…’ the yeah-coz-fingee gasped
‘You eat and breathe and speak with one?
And what’s more,’ the creature sneered,
‘It’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard.’
‘Look at my face,’ the creature continued,
‘Each of my mouths has a duty.
One eats, one speaks, one breathes, you see?
And, three’s the right number for beauty!’
‘Well,’ said the boy, defending himself,
‘One mouth’s totally normal for me.
Your separate mouths eat, breathe and speak
But my clever mouth does all three.’
‘Another thing that makes you weird,’
Said the yeah-coz-fingee, impolitely,
‘Is you’ve only got two legs to walk.’
The little thing was laughing slightly.
‘So what?’ said the boy, annoyed and hurt,
‘I don’t feel jealous of you.
Anything your eleven legs can manage
I can do just the same with two!’
The creature said, ‘If you lift one leg
It’s obvious that you’ll fall down.
What kind of job could you ever do,
Except be a circus clown?’
‘Watch this!’ the boy called back
And took ten steps along the pavement.
‘Impossible!’ the creature whispered,
Its one eye wide with amazement.
‘What a fascinating specimen!’
The yeah-coz-fingee said to itself.
‘I’ll take you to my science lab,
And keep you in a jar on the shelf!’
This poem plays with the idea of points of view. It shows that people or things that look weird to us, find us weird to look at. Does that mean that one is really weird, or that both are weird, or neither?
1. Read the poem to the class.
2. Give them some silent thinking-time to take it in.
3. Read it again and then ask someone to explain what happens in the poem.
4. When you finish the second reading project the poem on the board for the children to examine. Be aware that it’s a bit long to get onto one page so you may have to flip between two. Ask them to think of questions about the poem, and talk about it in pairs. After a few minutes collect and list the questions. Ask if anyone can think of possible answers to any of the questions.
5. As the answers to the questions come, listen until they finish, then prompt children to link their ideas to other people’s by saying ‘Who else said something like that?’, ‘Is there anyone you agree/disagree with?’. If they do this themselves, praise it, and say that it is one of the skills you are looking for.
Task Question 1:
Which of the two characters is weird?
Children can read the dialogue from the poem, taking one part each. You can include a narrator for the non-dialogue parts, but it works fine with just the speech. You may want to prepare another projection or handouts with the dialogue parts on it. Children can perform in front of the class. Get them to practice in twos beforehand.
Ask which of the characters is right.
Task Question 2:
- Is there anyone or anything that we treat the way yeah-coz-fingee treats us? Is it OK to do that?
Get a child to draw the YCF on the board. Ask others if the drawing is correct – this may lead to discussion on what we can know from the poem.