Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment
CCEA Curriculum Monitoring Programme 2018-19

Poet’s use of language

  • Written in four neat quatrains: the rhyming couplets add to the childlike quality of the poem
  • The speaker provides two different perspectives in the poem: the baby and the wagtail
  • Simplicity of the language helps convey the animals’ freedom
  • Observational style
  • A deliberately restricted rhyme scheme: the B rhyme is consistent to highlight words
  • Unexpectedness of language, for example, the ‘wagtail’ of the opening quatrain becomes a ‘birdie’ by the second
  • Careful use of punctuation: the change in the punctuation of the last quatrain allows the speaker to isolate the last line of the poem to highlight the baby’s immediate lesson and the poem’s wider moral