Mrs. Mouse Trots – A Poem that French Students Start Learning in Kindergarten

The other day I wrote about how French students learn poetry by heart. Monique, who was a first grade teacher in France for many years wrote:

French students start learning poetry by heart in first grade – which is 6 years old and often earlier! Dame souris trotte (Mrs. Mouse Trots) is often taught in kindergarten. Some teachers teach it as early as 4-5 year old preschool (but they usually take out the 2nd verse).

Below is Dame souris trotte by Paul Verlaine. My English translation follows the French version.

Dame souris trotte

Dame souris trotte
Noire dans le gris du soir ,
Dame souris trotte ,
Grise dans le noir .

On sonne la cloche :
Dormez les bons prisonniers ,
On sonne la cloche ,
Faut que vous dormiez .

Un nuage passe ,
Il fait noir comme en un four ,
Un nuage passe ,
Tiens le petit jour !

Dame souris trotte ,
Rose dans les rayons bleus ,
Dame souris trotte ,
Debout paresseux !

Mrs. Mouse Trots

Mrs. Mouse trots
Black in the gray dusk,
Mrs. Mouse trots
Gray in the darkness.

The bell sounds…
The good prisoners sleep.
The bell sounds…
You should sleep.

A cloud passes,
The sky’s opaque,
A cloud passes,
Look daybreak!

Mrs. Mouse trots,
Pink in blue sunbeams,
Mrs. Mouse trots,
Get up, you lazy!

Monique said that many of the poems at a site called Poemes are used by French teachers. She had her students memorize poem #44 called Pomme et poire at that site.

-Mama Lisa

Many thanks to Monique Palomares, of Mama Lisa’s World en français, for sharing more about the teaching of poetry in French grade school with us.

This article was posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2007 at 12:02 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Dame souris trotte, France, French, French Poems, Languages, Mama Lisa, Paul Verlaine, Poetry, Poets, Teaching. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Mrs. Mouse Trots – A Poem that French Students Start Learning in Kindergarten”

  1. Alison Says:

    You might be interested in the Edith Sitwell English version:

    Madam Mouse trots,
    Gray in the black night!
    Madam Mouse trots:
    Furred is the light.
    The elephant-trunks
    Trumpet from the sea….
    Gray in the black night
    The mouse trots free.
    Hoarse as a dog’s bark
    The heavy leaves are furled….
    The cat’s in his cradle,
    All’s well with the World!

    Rather different from the Verlaine – I found your blog while looking for the French version.

    And don’t French children learn LaFontaine’s Fables by heart too?

  2. Miami Says:

    I like it.

  3. Samantha Says:

    this is a really cute poem right here….i give it a 10/10 :D

  4. Alisha Dhyani Says:

    bravo! it is awesome I could read them endlessly! i loved it veryyyyyy much!

  5. Mallissa Says:

    I Love it!!! I could like read it every day! I am not born in france but I know french, I think so far I love french as my favourite subject!!!…

  6. HAHAHAHA Says:

    this helped with my homework ta :)

  7. Saagarika Says:

    Its excellent , a really cute poem. i liked it very much

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