I then realised that I don't have any alphabets small enough to fit the whole poem on a reasonably sized card, nor did I have enough of any single letter to use the Fiskars Easy Stamp Press; which would have made life easier. I faffed around looking for pictures of cockerels on the internet and when I finally found a decent one, realised that the red ink in the printer had run out, but not the yellow or blue so I wasn't going to waste ink by changing it (I'll just print in blue & green for a while) and when I tried tracing the cockerel it worked, but I didn't like the colouring in and didn't want to do a full blown colour drawing.
So I compromised, and picked out the key characteristics of the bird from the poem and put the colours on the back and the characteristics on the front. Which despite having to use a foam based alphabet by Plaid Enterprises (whoever they are) that I'd picked up years ago at BladeRubber, which is a bit tricky to place accurately on the page, on what was luckily quite shiny card (as I kept picking up side bits of the stamps and had to remove the mess from the card) - I think it has turned out rather well!
It's not finished as I'm intending to print an inner slip with the full poem on, but can't work out how to get the text placed in the right place. And as I don't know how long the ink will take to dry on this shiny card, I've not yet rubbed out the pencil lines.
The full poem/ song is from the early 1400's and is from a collection attributed to the monastery at Bury St Edmunds containing 70 odd early English carols/ lyrics that haven't survived anywhere else (according to the anthology - which is a collection of the poems that are put up in the tube instead of adverts): and it reads like this:
I have a gentil cock, croweth me day
he doth me risen early, my matins for to say
I have a gentil cock, comen he is of great
his comb is of red coral, his tail is of jet
I have a gentil cock, comen he is of kind
his comb is of red sorrel, his tail is of inde
his legs be of azure, so gentil and so small
his spurs are of silver white, into the wortewale
his eyes are of crystal, locked all in amber
and every night he percheth him in my lady's chamber
If you're thinking that mediaeval poems probably have some sort of scandalous subtext (as Chaucer often did), I suspect you're probably right bearing in mind the first and last couplets.....