Sparrow by Norman MacCaig

By | on 24th August 2010 | 4 Comments

I love the Sparrows that hang about our apartment, we have  couple of friendly ones who will come onto the balcony or into the living room if the balcony door is open.  This is one of my favourite poems about Sparrows which I learnt at school and I think it describes the Sparrow perfectly.

Dedicated to my little friends……

Sparrow by Norman MacCaig

He’s no artist

His taste in clothes is more

dowdy than gaudy.

And his nest – that blackbird, writing

pretty scrolls on the air with the gold nib of his beak,

would call it a slum.

To stalk solitary on lawns,

to sing solitary in midnight trees,

to glide solitary over grey Atlantics –

not for him: he’d rather

a punch up in a gutter.

He carries what learning he has

lightly – it is, in fact, based only

on the usefulness whose result

is survival. A proletarian bird.

No scholar.

But when winter soft-shoes in

and these other birds –

ballet dancers, musicians, architects –

die in the snow

and freeze to branches

watch him happily flying

on the O-levels and A-levels

of the air.

© 2010 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to “Sparrow by Norman MacCaig”

  1. 27th March 2013

    ronnie mackie Reply

    This was one of my favourite poems too … and he is one of my favourite poets!

  2. 21st March 2014

    Chris Reply

    Lovely poem Kerry, I didn’t know it, so thank you for introducing me to it. I have been watching the sparrows this morning in my garden, such busy little birds and always sound so cheerful. I won’t be in Turkey this year unfortunately but looking forward to my next visit, I do so love your adopted country. With best wishes to you and your family. xx

    • 26th March 2014

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Glad you like the poem Chris, its one of those that stuck with me from School and I adore little sparrows such funny and cheeky little birds.

  3. 2nd July 2015

    Roger Reply

    Been looking for this poem for a long time…thanks…now off to find one with the phrase “Dawn is a slugger”

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