Twelve Poems about Birds
Poets and birds go back a long way. Down the centuries, countless poets have hitched a lift on the wings of birds. Some of the earliest surviving Anglo-Saxon poems describe the haunting calls of birds as they accompany seafarers through the harsh realities of their lives.
Twelve Poems about Birds offers a glimpse of our amazing heritage of bird poems by historical and contemporary writers including Elizabeth Bishop, John Clare, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Hardy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Edward Thomas and Lynne Wycherley. Some of the chosen poems will be familiar to readers and some unfamiliar either because they have fallen out of fashion or because they are published here for the first time.
Twelve Poems about Birds makes a fantastic present for bird-lovers and nature-lovers more generally. Our hope is that it will inspire people to explore further, perhaps on rainy days when their binoculars and field guides lie idle.
Of all the gay birds that e’er I did see,
The owl is the fairest by far to me,
For all day long she sits on a tree,
And when the night comes away flies she.
Lynne Wycherley, Bewick Swans arrive at Ouse Washes
Edward Thomas, Birds’ Nests
Elizabeth Bishop, Sandpiper
Thomas Hardy, The Darkling Thrush
Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Windhover
John Clare, ‘The Wren’ and ‘The Happy Bird’
Karin Koller, bird feeder
Francis Brett Young, The Quails
Emily Dickinson, ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers
Edward Lear, Two Limericks
Anon, The Ptarmigan
Illustrated by Jill Perry.
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