A.A Milne

Alexander Alan Milne was born in England in January 1882. He was the third of three sons. Alexander’s father was the headmaster of a small school, which Alexander and his brothers attended. While there, he was taught by the writer H.G Wells. Alexander later went to Westminster school and then Cambridge University, where he studied maths.

He married Dorothy de Selincourt in 1919. As a young adult, Alexander became a pacifist. He later wrote a book called Peace with Honour, advocating pacifism, which was published in 1934. Despite his views, he joined the army at the start of the First World War. His experiences strengthened his pacifist views.

Alexander was sent home from France after becoming unwell, and discharged from the army in 1919. His son, Christopher Robin, was born a year later. Alexander written his first play during his military service, and spent the next several years working as a playwright. He mostly wrote comedies, but he also wrote stories and poems for his son. Many of them were published, including his two Winnie the Pooh books, published in 1926 and 1928. He also wrote theatre adaptations of the children’s books The Wind in the Willows and Toad of Toad Hall.


A.A Milne’s poems

Teddy bear

This is one of A.A Milne’s longer poems. Some of the language might be unfamiliar to EFL learners, but it’s rhythm encourages a more native speech pattern. You can listen to it here:


Waiting at the window

This lovely poem about watching raindrops on the window is something that most children can relate to. The poem has a simple rhyme scheme and a good rhythm.

These are my two drops of rain
Waiting on the window-pane.

I am waiting here to see
Which the winning one will be.

Both of them have different names.
One is John and one is James.

All the best and all the worst
Comes from which of them is first.

James has just begun to ooze.
He’s the one I want to lose.

John is waiting to begin.
He’s the one I want to win.

James is going slowly on.
Something sort of sticks to John.

John is moving off at last.
James is going pretty fast.

John is rushing down the pane.
James is going slow again.

James has met a sort of smear.
John is getting very near.

Is he going fast enough?
(James has found a piece of fluff.)

John has quickly hurried by.
(James was talking to a fly.)

John is there, and John has won!
Look! I told you! Here’s the sun!

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/waiting-at-the-window-by-a-a-milne


At the zoo

This is a slightly longer poem. It has a simple rhyme scheme and fun, descriptive language.

There are lions and roaring tigers, and enormous camels and things,
There are biffalo-buffalo-bisons, and a great big bear with wings,
There’s a sort of tiny potamus, and a tiny nosserus too —
But I gave buns to the elephant when I went down to the Zoo!

There are badgers and bidgers and bodgers, and a Super-in-tendent’s House,
There are masses of goats, and a Polar, and different kinds of mouse,
And I think there’s a sort of a something which is called a wallaboo —
But I gave buns to the elephant when I went down to the Zoo!

If you try to talk to the bison, he never quite understands;
You can’t shake hands with a mingo — he doesn’t like shaking hands.
And lions and roaring tigers hate saying, ” How do you do? ” —
But I give buns to the elephant when I go down to the Zoo!


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