One shoe off, the other shoe on,
Diddle diddle dumpling, my silly owner John.
A flick of my tail, with little toes in sight,
Eeeny, meeny, miny, moe, where shall I bite?
"Pussy cat, pussy cat, get away from my feet!
Or it is your hide I'll be forced to beat!"
A-tisket, a-tasket, John started to swear,
For it was too late, I was up in the air.
Roses are red, much like John's face,
As I latched on his feet with beautiful grace.
All over Drury lane, people heard John shout,
"That's it, you stupid cat, I want you gone, GET OUT!"

As a stray I live now, once John said 'enough',
So I shall curl up here, with a fussy huff.
But a house-cat all my lives, I am not street smart...
With a last defiant hiss, I am forced to _____

I've tried writing a rhyme, but can't think of how to finish it. How does the rhyme end?


My rhyme is very reminiscent of old nursery rhymes...


3 Answers 3


Probably incorrect, or at best partial, answer

I suspect that the ending we're looking for might be


on the following grounds.

First, of course, it fits the metre and rhyme scheme. Second, it almost makes sense in the context of the verse (though surely at this point the cat has already departed, and is now doing something else entirely). Third, and more to the point, the letters of DEPART can be found, in order, among the initial letters of the lines. One per rhyming couplet, though there's no very obvious pattern to which line is selected from each couplet.

But I'm uneasy because

"pick one initial letter from each couplet" seems too vague a specification -- if this is anything like the right answer, it seems like there ought to be some indication of which letter to pick each time. The first five letters are from the five lines that are almost but not quite lines from familiar children's rhymes -- but the last one isn't, so far as I know.

And also because

as I mentioned above, it doesn't quite work in terms of the story being told. The cat has already departed, and is about to curl up and have a rest. (But maybe RDFozz's suggestion in comments solves this: the cat was about to do just that, but another bigger, more streetwise, one has come along and scared it away.)

So, how else could those letters be obtained?

In the first few couplets the letter selected is the first letter of the longest repeated sequence of letters in the couplet. DIDDLED, EENYM, PUSSYCAT. Unfortunately this breaks down after that; e.g., in the fifth couplet ACE (in FACE and GRACE) is longer than any repeated sequence beginning with R.

In most couplets it's arguable that the scansion is worse (or at least a worse match for the thing being kinda-quoted, where there is one) for the line whose first letter we are taking. "Diddle diddle dumpling" is meant to be followed by "my son John" and instead we have "my silly owner John", three extra syllables. "Eeny meeny miny moe" is meant to be followed by "catch a [disyllable] by the toe" and instead we have "where shall I bite", three syllables too few. "Pussy cat, pussy cat" is meant to be followed by "where have you been?" and instead we have "get away from my feet", two syllables too many. But this rather breaks down in the fifth couplet: "much like John's face" has the same rhythm as "violets are blue".

None of that seems very convincing. Other remarks that haven't helped me at all:

The last couplet has no nursery rhyme reference at all, unless you count the brief reference to Drury Lane (where the Muffin Man lives). The emphasis on feet might suggest something clever involving "feet" in the metrical sense -- iambs and dactyls and all that -- but if so, I'm not seeing it. In a few cases (but not all) there's some approximation to the relevant letter name inside the couplet (e.g., ee*ny, roses **are red). In a few cases (but not all) there's some tangential connection with the relevant word from the NATO phonetic alphabet (e.g., Romeo going along with those romantic roses, the echo of "eeny meeny"). The letters we need are not always the most frequently occurring in their couplets, either throughout or when looking only at initial letters of words.

Another possibility, astutely pointed out in comments by MOehm:

Take the letters not from the rhyme here but from the names of the nursery rhymes alluded to. "Diddle diddle...", "Eeny meeny...", "Pussy cat...", "A tisket...", "Roses are red...", "The muffin man".

  • $\begingroup$ Correct word, but incorrect reasoning! I'll award the pretty green tick (and possibly a cookie) if you find how the word fits into the poem. The part in "gold" isn't required to solve the puzzle, it's just the place to put the answer. You're on the right track with the letters in each couplet, but it's deeper then that! $\endgroup$
    – Asteria
    Feb 14, 2018 at 22:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Not being street smart, our fuzzy little friend might not be able to keep the choice spot he's decided to curl up in, if another cat came along. The last word might thus be referring to an action taking place after leaving John's place. $\endgroup$
    – RDFozz
    Feb 14, 2018 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ Aren't you overthinking this a bit? DEPART are the first letters of the names of the nursery rhymes, The last T comes from "The Muffin Man", although I'm not so keen on the indirect reference of something that starts with T and could just as well mean M. Perhaps the Three Blind Mice had a day off. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Feb 15, 2018 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ You could well be right; I was assuming the letters came from the actual text but indeed they don't have to. Your suggestion is very similar to the first not-quite-explanation I had; I really should have thought of the possibility then. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Feb 15, 2018 at 10:50
  • $\begingroup$ @MOehm is correct in his reasoning for "Depart" $\endgroup$
    – Asteria
    Feb 16, 2018 at 23:51

As a stray I live now, once John said 'enough', So I shall curl up here, with a fussy huff. But a house-cat all my lives, I am not street smart... With a last defiant hiss, I am forced to _____

Face/Brave the dark


1) Kind of rhymes with Smart

2) A house cat would not normally have to deal with it, lights are everywhere in cities and towns; not to mention, this last word could be used as in its alternative implication (underworld/bad stuff)

3) A defiant hiss works with both initial word variations of the phrase, as cats hiss when they're scared, agitated, or being aggressive.

  • $\begingroup$ A good and interesting guess! But not the answer I'm looking for, unfortunately $\endgroup$
    – Asteria
    Feb 14, 2018 at 10:37

My guess is:

Tart (maybe "a tart", etc.)


The mention of Drury Lane, which is known for two things

First thing:

The Muffin Man rhyme - Tarts are a type of pastry (extension from muffin man, nearby bakery) and could make the answer "eat tarts" or "steal tarts" which may be what the cat needs to do to survive without hunting skill

Second thing:

Prostitution - A tart is another word for a prostitute which Drury Lane is known for. Kind of adds a bleak future for our cat friend, but it fits.


I can't quite make it rhyme perfectly. Either it has an 's' or it could use an extra word. Although it does seem 'tart' in the second sense can be used as a verb, so perhaps that works.


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