December 19, 2008

Robert Allen: Spuggies


Passer domesticus - Spuggie

The "Spuggie" is the Geordie and Northumbrian name for the "House Sparrow" (Passer domesticus). Its name is part of the famous Geordie tongue twister -"Thors a spuggie stuck in the sckeul spoot). They were a mightly pest on farms descending on standing and laid corn crops, and devouring newly sown grass seed. But Robert liked them in the end!

Of erl the bords tha flit aboot
Ah like the spuggies best;
They hev nee bonnie feathors,
They build an erful nest.

They fight alang the guttor’s edge
They make love i’ the street;
Thor voice is just a cross atween
A chirrup an’ a tweet.

They eat the seeds the gard’ner sows
They pinch the farmor’s corn
Th’ore chatterbox an’ scattorbrain
The varry day th’ore born.

Below that cheeky little face,
Ahint them beady eyes,
Ye’d sweor they wore the Divil’s sons
I’ feathery disguise.

Thore’s now o’ praise for erl yon clan.
That Ah can put i’ words;
But – please forgi’e them if ye can, -
Th’ore canny little bords!

From “Canny Bit of Verse”, 1994. ISBN 0-9524649-0-X Published by the author.
Robert Allen's farming and historical poems have been sourced from the Northumberland Language Society. Please contact the NLS as a source ( of more of these brilliant works, and for recordings. The copyright is held by Nigel and Georgina Hall - for enquiries email them on

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