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By Eve Merriam

Once upon a time

I caught a little rhyme


I set it on the floor

but it ran right out the door


I chased it on my bicycle

but it melted to an icicle


I scooped it up in my hat

but it turned into a cat


I caught it by the tail

but it stretched into a whale


I followed it in a boat

but it changed into a goat


When I fed it tin and paper

it became a tall skyscraper


Then it grew into a kite

and flew far out of sight …


Eve Merriam, “Catch a Little Rhyme” from Catch a Little Rhyme (New York: Atheneum, 1966). Copyright © 1966, 1994 by Eve Merriam. Reprinted with the permission of Marian Reiner.

Source: The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children’s Poems (1999)

Poet Bio

Eve Merriam was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended Cornell as well as the University of Pennsylvania. Merriam was a poet, playwright, and teacher, who wrote more than 50 books of poetry and prose. She is best-known for her controversial book Inner City Mother Goose, which was adapted into the Broadway musical Inner City. Merriam also wrote numerous books of children's poetry and was awarded the National Council of Teachers of English Award for excellence in children's poetry.

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