Poem of the Month: September

I am currently starting two very exciting things. Firstly, I now work for the RSPB as a fundraiser and I am loving it! They are my favourite organisation and to be actively helping wildlife whilst earning a few pennies is an absolute dream. Secondly, I am prepping for the induction of my Masters in English, which starts in less than a month! I have really missed studying and I cannot wait to return to writing essays about syntax and pathetic fallacy and all that.

As literature is going to be a big part of my life once again, I thought I’d start a Poem of the Month on my blog! I love poetry and learning about the poets themselves, so I’ll be sharing some of my favourite poems and new ones I have discovered. The first one is a salute to my new job, and one of my absolute favourites: Little Trotty Wagtail by John Clare. During our RSPB training, they let us all pick a pin-badge to wear and I chose the Pied Wagtail, a happy chappy with a bobbing tail.

Born the son a farm-labourer in 1793, John Clare was an English poet who became famous for his representations of the countryside and rural life. He lived in Northamptonshire but spent large parts of his life in literary London, and often felt torn between the desire to write poetry and the need to feed his family through farm work. He has written several harrowing poems about 19th century survival and the disruption of the landscape, but this simple, bouncy little poem about one of our commonest birds is my favourite.

Little Trotty Wagtail by John Clare

Little trotty wagtail he went in the rain,
And tittering, tottering sideways he neer got straight again,
He stooped to get a worm, and looked up to get a fly,
And then he flew away ere his feathers they were dry.

Little trotty wagtail, he waddled in the mud,
And left his little footmarks, trample where he would.
He waddled in the water-pudge, and waggle went his tail,
And chirrupt up his wings to dry upon the garden rail.

Little trotty wagtail, you nimble all about,
And in the dimpling water-pudge you waddle in and out;
Your home is nigh at hand, and in the warm pig-stye,
So, little Master Wagtail, I’ll bid you a good-bye.



2 thoughts on “Poem of the Month: September

  1. Lovely poem Tiff but sadly and coincidentally, I just read in the paper this weekend that they are very much in decline. An article entitled ‘Why are all our wagtails vanishing?’ says that Yellow wagtails have declined by 43% between 1995 and 2012. The Grey wagtail has declined by 32% and the pied wagtail by 11%. You are definitely in a worthwhile job! xx

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