Famous Children Poem

Mary Austin was an American writer who lived from 1868-1934. Many of her writing pieces have a natural element, and she was strongly involved in movements to preserve Native American arts and culture. In this poem, Austin shares about animals she would choose to be if she didn't have to be herself, and she gives descriptions of them that are presented in a sing-song tone.

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Rathers

Mary Hunter Austin By more Mary Hunter Austin

I know very well what I'd rather be
If I didn't always have to be me!
I'd rather be an owl,
A downy feathered owl,
A wink-ity, blink-ity, yellow-eyed owl
In a hole in a hollow tree.
I'd take my dinner in chipmunk town,
And wouldn't I gobble the field mice down,
If I were a wink-ity, blink-ity owl,
And didn't always have to be me!

I know very well what I'd like to do
If I didn't have to do what I do!
I'd go and be a woodpecker,
A rap-ity, tap-ity, red-headed woodpecker
In the top of a tall old tree.
And I'd never take a look
At a lesson or a book,
And I'd scold like a pirate on the sea,
If I only had to do what I like to do,
And didn't always have to be me!

Or else I'd be an antelope,
A pronghorned antelope,
With lots of other antelope
Skimming like a cloud on a wire-grass plian.
A bounding, bouncing antelope,
You'd never get me back to my desk again!

Or I might be a puma,
A singe-colored puma,
A slinking, sly-foot puma
As fierce as fierce could be!
And I'd wait by the waterholes where antelope drink
In the cool of the morning
And I do
              not
                    think
That ever any antelope could get away from me.

But if I were a hunter,
A red Indian hunter -
I'd like to be a hunter, -
I'd have a bow made of juniper wood
From a lightning-blasted tree,
And I'd creep and I'd creep on that puma asleep
A flint tipped arrow,
An eagle feathered arrow,
For a puma kills calves and a puma kills sheep,
And he'd never eat any more antelope
If he once met up with me!

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