Lighten Up Online

The quarterly light verse webzine

Jo Field - The Parrot

Once, at midnight, I was blinking heavy eyes and vaguely thinking . . .
Wishing that I'd not been drinking, that my head were not so sore,
Wishing that my throat were wetter, thinking gloomily I'd better
Leave my troubled bed and get a glass of water from next door,
Willing leaden legs to take me to the kitchen tap next door.
        When I heard a piercing CAW.

First I thought my ears were ringing, thought it was the red wine singing.
Damn, I thought, and sat up, flinging blankets to the dusty floor.
From now on, I thought, my vote'll be with those who stay teetotal,
No More Pushing Out The Boat'll be my motto. Never more.
I stuck my feet into my slippers as I vowed to drink no more.
       Then I saw the large macaw.

A bird of yellow, blue and scarlet, kitted out much like a harlot,
Something like my cousin Charlotte -- famous as the family whore.
It sat upon the bedside table. Round its neck there hung a label:
WELCOME TO THE TOWER OF BABEL read the label that it wore.
And the language also printed on the label that it wore
       Shocked me to the very core.

Unprovoked -- no stick, no carrot -- that ill-mannered gaudy parrot
Then struck up like Lesley Garrett yelling from a fiendish score.
Stop your shrill infernal quacking! What it needed was a whacking –
Anything to send it packing. I obliged it, to be sure.
Whacked it soundly with a slipper, beat it roundly to be sure.
       BLIMEY, said the parrot, COR.

Sagging like a faded starlet (There! Take that you wanton varlet!)
Sulking like my cousin Charlotte over some inapt amour,
The parrot simply went on sitting, never flinching from my hitting,
Didn't even look like quitting–such a battering it bore.
Well, a masochistic parrot soon becomes a frightful bore.
       (And it even cried ENCORE!)

In my cold and moonlit garret –filthy headache from the claret –
Had enough of that damn parrot and its over-active jaw.
The alarm clock's high-pitched bleeping found me gently sobbing, weeping.
Then, aware that I'd been sleeping, dreaming all that went before,
Though my head was hurting badly I was left rejoicing madly,
Waiting for the evening gladly, anxious for a drink or four.
Keen to get back to the bottle -- Take the pledge? Whatever for?
       On account of a macaw?
       One I'd dream about no more . . . ?

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