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Little Trotty Wagtail

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List the words the poet John Clare uses to describe the movement of the wagtail. Choose another bird (e.g. a peacock, a seagull, a robin) and think of as many words as you can to describe its actions. Have a go at doing those actions yourself. Then read the poem again.

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Little trotty wagtail, he went in the rain,
And tittering, tottering sideways he near got straight again.
He stooped to get a worm, and look’d up to catch 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 pigsty,
So little Master Wagtail, I’ll bid you a goodbye.

Little Trotty Wagtail

by John Clare