Jenny Wren

Of all the birds that rove and sing,
Near dwellings made for men,
None is so nimble, feat, and trim,
As Jenny Wren.
With pin-point bill, and tail-a-cock,
So wildly shrill she cries,
The echoes on his roof-tree knock
And fill the skies.
Never was sweeter seraph hid
Within so small a house –
A tiny, inch-long, eager, ardent,
Feathered mouse.
The house wrens have returned in the last few days and one is already filling a nesting box with sticks. I’ve put out plenty of boxes hoping to divert him from the box that I think a pair of chickadees may be using. This one was not happy with me as I took his photo – his scolding attracted a few chickadees to come and see what I was up to, and then a nearby squirrel also scolded me with its raspy voice. I love to hear their bubbling song when I’m working out in the garden. They sing incessantly; their song by midsummer becomes little more than background noise. Then suddenly they are gone in late August and the garden is quiet without them.

8 thoughts on “Jenny Wren”

  1. The wren, the wren, the king of all birds
    St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze.
    Although he was little, his honor was great.
    Jump up me lads and give us a treat.

    We followed the wren three miles or more,
    three miles or more, three miles or more.
    Through hedges and ditches and heaps of snow
    At six o’clock in the morn.

    Dreoilín, Dreoilín, where is your nest?
    It’s in the bush that I love best.
    It’s in the bush, the holly tree,
    Where all the boys do follow me.

    As I went out to hunt and all
    I met a wren upon the wall.
    Up with me wattle and gave him a fall
    And brought him here to show you all.

    I have a little box under me arm.
    A tuppence or penny will do it no harm
    For we are the boys who came your way
    To bring in the wren on St. Stephen’s Day.

  2. Laura,
    St. Stephen’s Day honors the first Christian martyr, stoned to death shortly after the Crucifixion.

    St. Stephen’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland, but the celebrations have little connection to the Saint. In Ireland, St. Stephen’s Day is the day for Hunting the Wren or Going on the Wren.

    Celebrated on December 26.

    The poem is actually a great and sprited Irish folk song.

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