Thursday, October 14, 2021

Today's poem - An old nursery rhyme

 One For Sorrow (Two For Joy) is an old English nursery rhyme.

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told!
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss.

The rhyme is referring to magpies, but I use it for "our" crows. I'll say, "one for sorrow" is here, which rarely happens. Just now there were "seven for a secret". And I got this picture out the front door window when there were "four for a boy" and one is starting to fly off.

I think I knew this rhyme before Anthony Horowitz'
Magpie Murders, but maybe not. And, in case you haven't heard, it is going to be on PBS next year! 


  1. Nearly everyone in England knew that rhyme at one time when it was used, set to music, for a children's magazine programme. Like your crows, magpies are seen more often in pairs or greater numbers. "Two for joy" turn up outside my window fairly regularly.

    1. I love this. And I hope children still know it.

  2. Your header picture is gorgeous, Nan!
    We have plenty of both magpies and crows around here. They always find enough to eat around town, and can make such a racket they have me shut the window because otherwise I can't hear what the others are saying during a video conference. I like them, though, and think they play an important role in what's left of our ecosystem.
    On a side note: "Three for a girl, four for a boy" - I guess that would not be PC anymore ;-)

    1. No magpies here. I wonder if they are anywhere in the US. But I do love the crows.

  3. Do you know this beautiful song, Magpie, sung here by the Unthanks and using the old rhyme?
    Used in the brilliant series Detectorists, which I absolutely loved.

    1. Wonderful!! And I also love that show. The most kindly program I've ever seen.

  4. Never heard that rhyme. I enjoyed Magpie Murders.

  5. I am excited about Magpie Murders being on PBS! And I'm pretty sure I did know the poem before I read that book. Various parts of it have been used by authors as titles or intros to mysteries I've read. Good poem for October! I do kind of get confused as to whether a black bird is a 'blackbird' or a 'magpie' or a 'crow' or a 'raven'.

    1. And then, there is the red-winged blackbird! Ha!


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