The Singing Garden

The Black and White Fantail

C.J. Dennis

SWEET, pretty little creature,”
    When the summer comes again
’Mid the burgeoning bush I feature
    Debonair and passing vain.
Yet, who’d not condone self praises
    That my perky airs denote
While my snowy shirt-front blazes
    Under my sleek evening coat?

Tho’ my fancy names are legion—
    Willie Wagtail, Shepherd’s Friend—
Varying with every region,
    Each one fits me in the end,
Friendliness is e’er my fashion;
    To the world I bob and bow,
Sheep have ever been my passion,
    And I venerate a cow.

Courage matching well my bragging
    I can show when in the mood,
As they know who would be lagging
    Near my fiercely guarded brood,
Down I swoop, and, scolding, picking,
    Tiny as I am and weak,
At the rude intruder clicking
    My small, ineffective beak.

“Sweet, pretty little creature,”
    Calling when the day is bright.
I am too a joyous feature
    Of the moonlit summer night.
With my snowy shirt-front gleaming
    Underneath your window sill,
While the feathered world is dreaming
    I’m awake, and boasting still.

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