The Black and White Fantail [poem by C. J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C. J. Dennis was published in The Singing Garden (1935).]

The Black and White Fantail

“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.

C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 99-100

Editor’s notes:
e’er = ever

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