The CUCKOO –
There’s a delightful little verse, CUCKOO, by 19th century British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins...
Repeat that, repeat,
Cuckoo, bird, and open ear wells, heart-springs, delightfully
With a ballad, with a ballad, a rebound
Off trundled timber and scoops of the hillside ground, hollow
hollow hollow ground:
The whole landscape flushes on a sudden at a sound.
The poem communicates the beauty of one moment of sound in one otherwise ordinary place.
What we discover in CUCKOO is how a seemingly unimportant moment is transformed to glorious at the sweet sound of a Cuckoo’s call.
But what is the real tweet-tweet on the Cuckoo in real-life ? Here are a few little tidbits to pass along to your kids and grandkids to combine literature and life:
– The Cuckoo gets its name from the sound of its call… a coo-coo, coo-coo, coo-coo.
– The male Cuckoo makes the familiar coo-coo call to protect its territory or to attract a mate.
– The female Cuckoo doesn’t coo-coo at all, but makes a bubbling chuckle sound.
– The Cuckoo Clock is said to mimic the sound of the Cuckoo… and these clocks do closely match the sounds of the European Cuckoo.
– The Cuckoo has been called the Rain Crow because American farmers believed that the cry of the Cuckoo predicted rain.
– The Cuckoo eats caterpillars, worms and many insects.
– A female Cuckoo does not build her nest… rather, she finds an unattended nest that belongs to another bird of another species and lays one egg in that nest. She repeats this process of laying one egg at a time in a different unattended nest during her entire breeding season.
– When a baby Cuckoo hatches, it uses its body to push all of the other eggs from the nest. This way, the foster bird parents give the baby Cuckoo all of their food and attention.
– Due to the individual foster care to the baby Cuckoo, it grows very quickly. In many cases, the baby Cuckoo grows larger than its foster parents.
– In early autumn, the Cuckoo chick is able to leave its foster parents and tag along with other Cuckoos as they migrate south.
– The Cuckoo is considered agile and watchful and has even been known to mimic human words and phrases.
Ah. The Cuckoo in real-life.
Reading the poem Cuckoo with your kids and grandkids, with a little knowledge of the Cuckoo in real-life, gives you so much to discuss… and your kids so much to think about as they embrace the literature.
The poem also gives us a great opportunity to talk with our kids about appreciating simple moments in time and realizing that the sweet call of a bird can transform the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Get out there with your kids and LISTEN!
Join me here each day in August for AUGUST TWEET-TWEETS on 365 Days of Literacy for Kids! A little fun, a little learning and a bit of “tweet-tweet”!