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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 e’re his feathers they were dry

Little trotty wagtail he waddled in the mud
And left his little foot marks 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 ‘Good bye’

Little Trotty Wagtail

by John Clare