A Bird And A Poem ~ Magpie.

Returning to a blog post series I began twelve months ago, I’m posting a bird photo, along with a corresponding poem from this lovely book The British Museum Birds. Each poem in the anthology is matched with a gorgeous illustration from the British Museums vast collection of artworks. Today I’ve chosen a poem by W. H. Davies entitled Magpies.

In the book the poem is matched with this beautiful Chinese woodcut on paper, entitled Magpies and Plum Tree by Ding Liangxian.


I have an orchard near my house

Where poppies spread and corn has grown ;

It is a holy place for weeds,

Where seeds stay on and flower, till blown.

Into this orchard, wild and quiet,

The magpie comes, the owl and rook:

To see one magpie is not well,

But seeing two brings all good luck.

If magpies think the same , and say,

Two humans bring good luck, not one’ –

How they must cheer us, love, together,

And tremble when I come alone!

W. H. DAVIES ( 1871 -1940).


Hello Mr Magpie!

Are you one of those crazy people ( like me) that always greets solitary magpies? I don’t think I’m a superstitious person, but I still find myself calling ‘ Hello Mr Magpie’ when I see one perched alone, cackling at me from a tree. P1000445

It is amusing to think that the magpies cackle may be a greeting to a solitary human too.

Are you superstitious about magpies?

24 thoughts on “A Bird And A Poem ~ Magpie.”

  1. Lovely topic for your blog. Great poem and illustration. Loads of magpies out and about today. One nesting, for second year on trot, outside bedroom window. They’re naughty birds, though – stealing eggs from nests and young defenceless chicks. All part of life’s rich tapestry. x

  2. Thanks Bea! Yes Magpies to get a bad rep and sometimes deservedly so. But like you say, it’s all part of life’s rich tapestry. I see a whole bunch of them in a tree by the river Ribble most days. They sound like they are chattering about alsorts. X

  3. Lovely poem and illustrations. We have magpies visit our garden and they often sit in the trees just over the hedge or on garden sheds. As children we always used to say ‘Good day, my lord’.if we saw just one Magpie:)

  4. We see the odd magpie around here, but not very many. We get the Australian magpie here, which are different to the ones you have in England. I had never heard that superstition before. Lovely pics and poem. It looks like a beautiful book.

    1. Maybe Australian magpies are better behaved than UK ones. Ours have been known to kill baby song birds in their nests, peck at baby lambs eyes and steal shiny objects. But they are still beautiful and characterful birds. I found the book at a book fair last year and fell in love with all the pretty illustrations especially. X

  5. Having not grown up in UK, I only know our very gregarious magpies, who are very friendly, but also very much maligned in Spring when they have young, as they tend to dive-bomb everyone & sundry, protecting their territory. I have heard that poem & know the saying of one magpie is lonely.Thanks for sharing & take. BTW, I definitely talk to all wildlife & animals, including insects (giggle).

  6. I’ve only read one post and I’m already in love with your poetic soul and your stream of consciousness writing. So beautiful. Thank you for putting your authentic self out there for us to celebrate. If you get a chance I would love it if you checked my blog out, I feel that it would resonate with you! Looking forward to reading more!

  7. Nice poem. I know the saying as one for sorrow, two for joy etc., so always look for another if I see one. My daughter automatically salutes every one she sees, even when she’s driving…!

    1. Ha, well I know how she feels. I don’t drive but I always say greet them. Bet she has got saluting whilst driving down to an art form. 😋

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