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.