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Transcript of Alan Brownjohn
we're off to see the rabbit To See the Rabbit ( after Prévert ) by Alan Brownjohn
We are going to see the rabbit.
We are going to see the rabbit.
Which rabbit, people say?
Which rabbit, ask the children?
The only rabbit,
The only rabbit in England,
Sitting behind a barbed-wire fence
Under the floodlights, neon lights,
On the only patch of grass
In England, in England
(Except the grass by the hoardings
Which doesn’t count ).
We are going to see the rabbit
And we must be there on time.
First we shall go by escalator,
Then we shall go by underground,
And then we shall go by motorway,
And then by helicopter way,
And the last ten yards we shall have to go on foot.
And now we are going
All the way to see the rabbit,
We are nearly there,
We are longing to see it,
And so is the crowdWhich is here in thousands
With mounted policemen
And big loudspeakers
And bands and banners,
And everyone has come a long way.
But soon we shall see it
Sitting and nibbling
The blades of grass
In – but something has gone wrong !
Why is everyone so angry,
Why is everyone jostling
And slanging and complaining?
The rabbit has gone,
Yes, the rabbit has gone.
He has actually burrowed down into the earth
And made himself a warren, under the earth
Despite all these people.
And what shall we do?
What CAN we do?
It is all a pity, you must be disappointed,
Go home and do something else for today,
Go home again, go home for today.
For you cannot hear the rabbit, under the earth,
Remarking rather sadly to himself, by himself,
As he rests in his warren, under the earth:
“It won’t be long, they are bound to come,
They are bound to come and find me, even here.”
Barbed wire = wire with short, sharp points.
Floodlights= powerful lights, often used in sports stadiums
Nibbling= a way of eating, with small bites
Patch = piece or area of something
Hoarding = a large board where advertisements are displayed
Underground= train system which goes under the ground
Longing = hoping, desiring
Crowd = large amount of people
Loudspeaker = apparatus for making sounds louder
Banner= long piece of cloth between two poles. Often used in
Blade = individual leaf of grass
Jostling = come into physical contact with, in a rough way
Slanging= using bad language, insulting.
Burrow = dig
Warren = series of tunnels where rabbits live below the ground
Pity = shame
Disappointed = unhappy
Sadly = not happily
Bound to = likely to, almost certainly
1 Listen carefully to the rhythm of the poem. Where, do you think,
the poet wrote it?
a) in a car b) on a train c) on a plane.
Give your reasons why you think this?
2 Do people have to travel far in order to see the rabbit?
What lines in the poem tell us the answer?
3 What kind of world is this poem set in ?
4 Will the rabbit be found ? How do you know ?
5 Underline the word which is different:
Bite nibble watch chew
Rabbit hamster guinea-pig Snake
Motorway underground bus heliport
House bungalow warren city
Sing jostle complain slang
6 Write ONE of the following short dialogues/ monologues:
A) A conversation between one of the mounted policeman and
someone in the crowd.
B) A conversation between the Chief of Police and the
C) The rabbit and someone interviewing him / her for a
D) A newsreader telling the viewers about the rabbit story.
Before you begin writing, try to think about HOW the people/ rabbit will
be feeling in the situation the poem relates.