About this teaching resource
This resource, 'The Magpies,' gives small and Big Book versions of this famous poem by Denis Glover, as well as background information.
Use the resource for Shared Reading and Independent Reading, with Year 3 students and older.
Listen to our Paul Kelly podcast here
Listen to Paul sing 'The Magpies' here
Denis James Matthews Glover (9 December 1912 – 9 August 1980) was a New Zealand poet and publisher.
"The Magpies", 1941, is the most famous poem by New Zealand poet Denis Glover (1912–1980). It helped define New Zealand's distinctive style of poetry. The poem was first published in Glover's 1964 anthology Enter Without Knocking.
Over the course of six short stanzas, the life of a farming couple from young man and wife through to their death of old age is recounted, each verse finishing with the couplet: "And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle," the magpies said, Except for the last verse, in which the last word is "say".
The intention of the poem is to indicate the passage of time and yet the timelessness of nature. A human lifetime passes, yet the underlying natural life - symbolised by the unchanging backdrop of the magpies' call - remains unchanging.
The refrain, "Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle", imitating the sound of the Australian magpie is one of the most famous lines in New Zealand poetry.
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