Treasure Island

Lewis Carroll

(27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898 / Cheshire)

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Little Birds


Little Birds are dining
Warily and well,
Hid in mossy cell:
Hid, I say, by waiters
Gorgeous in their gaiters -
I've a Tale to tell.

Little Birds are feeding
Justices with jam,
Rich in frizzled ham:
Rich, I say, in oysters
Haunting shady cloisters -
That is what I am.

Little Birds are teaching
Tigresses to smile,
Innocent of guile:
Smile, I say, not smirkle -
Mouth a semicircle,
That's the proper style!

Little Birds are sleeping
All among the pins,
Where the loser wins:
Where, I say, he sneezes
When and how he pleases -
So the Tale begins.

Little Birds are writing
Interesting books,
To be read by cooks:
Read, I say, not roasted -
Letterpress, when toasted,
Loses its good looks.

Little Birds are playing
Bagpipes on the shore,
Where the tourists snore:
"Thanks!" they cry. "'Tis thrilling!
Take, oh take this shilling!
Let us have no more!"

Little Birds are bathing
Crocodiles in cream,
Like a happy dream:
Like, but not so lasting -
Crocodiles, when fasting,
Are not all they seem!

Little Birds are choking
Baronets with bun,
Taught to fire a gun:
Taught, I say, to splinter
Salmon in the winter -
Merely for the fun.

Little Birds are hiding
Crimes in carpet-bags,
Blessed by happy stags:
Blessed, I say, though beaten -
Since our friends are eaten
When the memory flags.

Little Birds are tasting
Gratitude and gold,
Pale with sudden cold:
Pale, I say, and wrinkled -
When the bells have tinkled,
And the Tale is told.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Read poems about / on: thanks, happy, smile, fun, memory, winter, dream, fire, friend, lost, sleep

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  • Michelle Claus (3/31/2014 2:28:00 PM)

    Snarky. Carroll cloaked his ideas in riddle, and I admit defeat here. I could use a scholar's help to decipher the subtext. The form of the poem itself - I like each stanza's musical quality and parsimony. (Report) Reply

  • Karen Sinclair (3/31/2014 1:07:00 PM)

    So very sad. The population used for the betterment of the nation are left to nothingness in a short while. Little birds. Us are taken I adore Lewis Carroll (Report) Reply

  • Adeline Foster (3/31/2012 12:51:00 PM)

    Shall we giggle, laugh, and guffaw! Someone actually wants to tell Louie Carroll that his poetry is nonsense. Is this not merely a bedtime ditty in disguise? And who could teach Louie Carroll to write it better?
    Adeline Foster (Report) Reply

  • Ankita Sharma (3/31/2010 3:16:00 PM)

    Love you Lewis....I love Alice and I love wonderland.....: D
    I can't forget the lovely time I spent reading your book when I was a child......those happy, wonderful moments......wonderland....love that crazy world like hell (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (3/31/2010 5:37:00 AM)

    Are there really only 365 poems in the English language? I commented on this poem just a year ago. There are tens of thousands of poems which could be poem of the day. (Report) Reply

  • Joey Valenzuela (12/15/2009 7:15:00 PM)

    i like every fourth line of the stanzas...pretty well made....

    but i think it's not just about a little bird..or himself.......

    i think it has something to do with political and social things....
    is Caroll a social poet? ? ? ..
    hmmmmnn, if he is, it's not written in his biography.... (Report) Reply

  • Himaya Marinas (3/31/2009 9:26:00 PM)

    The poem described the little birds as enormous, significant, vital and a treasure not a trash.Therefore be proud of who you are. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (3/31/2009 6:59:00 AM)

    The fact is, I like eating meat, but I don't like killing it. I pay slaughtermen (whether noble or plebian) to do that for me. Carroll cleverly makes me feel remorse without hating him for it. But I doubt if I shall change. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (3/31/2009 6:23:00 AM)

    Nailed them real good. Them little birds getting fatter and fatter, eating bugs and seeds. Then flying away to another feast. (Report) Reply

  • Laurie Gain (4/3/2005 8:30:00 AM)

    I love the interlocking of the third and fourth lines by the first word. I also like the combination of morality and whimsy. (Report) Reply

Read all 18 comments »

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