By Ted Hughes

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The cuckoo's the crookedest, wickedest bird,

His song has two notes but only one word.


He says to the linnet:  Your eggs look so ill!

Now I am the doctor, and here is my pill."


Within that pill, the cuckoo-child

Crouches hidden, wicked and wild.


He bursts his shell, and with weightlifter's legs

He flings from the nest the linnet's eggs.


Then bawls to the linnet:  "Look at me, Mam!

How quickly I've grown, and how hungry I am!"


She thinks he is hers, she is silly with joy.

She wears herself bare for the horrible boy.


Till one day he burps with a pitiless laugh,

"I've had enough of this awful caf.


And away he whirls, to Cuckooland,

And leaves her to weep with a worm in her hand.

Picture of Cuckoo