"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.
The Black and White Fantail
by C J Dennis (1876-1938)
The Singing Garden (1935) p.99.
A Willie Wagtail on the banks of the flooded Cooper Creek.