Old Birds - Edit 2 and Then a Short Version

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FranktheFrank
Posts: 1290
Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Location: Between the mountains and the sea

Old Birds - Edit 2 and Then a Short Version

#1 Post by FranktheFrank » 14 May 2018, 23:20

Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots,
making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot
in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes
gone into mourning, one might imagine,
for the death of the sun.

Charles Dickens, Bleak House

Near the river mud, the deep double-bass
bellow of tug calls, a nondescript warehouse,
a bird sanctuary.

Entering: met by a cacophony of chatter
and squawks from a thousand birds
Psittaciformes: parrots, parakeets,
macaws, parottlets, amazons, and rosellas,
singing, screeching, talking, calling, scratching,
and gurglings that only parrots can make.

A host of colours, feathers, and gilded cages
of all shapes and sizes.

Quietness descends. Not just ordinary parrots,
these are mature birds, experienced sailors,
with rich, and lurid vocabularies.

Familiar with violence, and drama,
birds that have turned Cape Horn,
wallowed in the doldrums,
gone hungry, suffered thirst,
been cast ashore on desert islands,
drifted in a dory for weeks,
seen cannibals eat,
their owners stabbed
and the victors purloin them and their cages.

Gold rings from in the lobes of sailors
pay for this extravagance.
Parrots that outlive their late owners
live in luxury at Lincoln Inn's Refuge
for Abandoned Birds. The charity,
a beneficiary of many a poor sailor's will.

To complement the costs
trips organised, advertised,
a day out for the elderly,
the bored and the widows.
A day out with a tea thrown in.

The birds, loved the attention,
the hordes of visitors handing
out nuts, and who are thrilled.

One such bird had imitated a day in the life
of its former owner as if in a Palladium play.
First the thundering of a heavy man running
down bare board stairs, then the greeting
in old Cockney slang, "How it going, my old
sparra."
Raucous laughter, then the coup de grâce
the sounds of a man washing with all
the noises that had been involved.

Other birds loved to utter profanities,
sexual innuendo, not that they understood,
but knew such performances would draw
shocked and covered faces.

And alas some birds trained to speak
the crude, the baser words of the Saxon
language sectioned off to other sheds,
too far gone for polite society.

And could that happen to us.





******



— In Chancery, LONDON. Michaelmas Term lately over,
and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable
November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters
had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not
be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling
like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from
chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big
as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for
the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely
better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one
another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their
foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot
passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the
day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud,
sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, accumulating
at compound interest.
Charles Dickens, Bleak House, Chapter One


Near the river, so close we hear tug calls
that bellow double bass, stands
an abandoned warehouse taken
over by that seaman's charity
that cares for orphaned parrots
that grieve the demise of their owners.

At first, far too big, now thankfully, full
to the rafters with assorted cages containing
a host of the order Psittaciformes: parrots,
parakeets, macaws, parottlets, amazons,
rosellas, lories, lorikeets and cockatoos too.

The money to support such a venture comes
from the gold rings found in the ears
of dead sailors and after so many years
word got out that parrots left by their owners
could live out their lives in luxury at Lincoln Inn's
Refuge for Abandoned Birds. The charity,
a beneficiary of many a poor sailor's will.

To complement these beneficiary wills
tours were organised, advertised, a day out
for the elderly, the bored and widows. A day
out with a tea thrown in and the extra cash
helped the charity thrive. The birds also
loved the attention, hordes of visitors
handing out nuts, chocolate and thrilled
by the rich vocabulary of a century or so before.

Many birds living to the age of 160 years.
One such bird had imitated a day in the life
of its former owner as if in a Palladium play.
First the thundering of a heavy man running
down bare board stairs, then the greeting
in old Cockney slang, "How it going, my old
bird."
Raucous laughter, then the coup de grâce
as the bird mimicked the sounds of washing
with all the noises that had been involved.

Other birds loved to utter profanities,
sexual innuendo, not that they understood,
but knew such performances would draw
shocked and covered faces from the more
puritanical of the groups. One specialised
in odd phrases,
"Come on, get your knickers off."
"How's your belly off for spots?'
Some birds trained to utter pornographic
remarks were sectioned of to other sheds
too far gone for polite society.

And in it all we are reminded of Dickens
when he writes:Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots,
making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot
in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes
gone into mourning, one might imagine,
for the death of the sun.

Kenneth2816
Posts: 752
Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17

Re: Old Birds

#2 Post by Kenneth2816 » 15 May 2018, 00:37

Frank this is fascinating, well conceived and well written..

The seriously long Intro.....
im not a big fan. The poem is sufficient

Bernie01
Posts: 780
Joined: 30 Jul 2015, 11:14

Re: Old Birds

#3 Post by Bernie01 » 15 May 2018, 02:54

Frank---/b]

dump the dickens, opening and close.

i would dump or greatly sharpen what the birds have to say.

the background is narrative material i didn't appreciate, but the overall idea here is interesting, if not very poetic.


bernie

FranktheFrank
Posts: 1290
Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Location: Between the mountains and the sea

Re: Old Birds -Edit 1

#4 Post by FranktheFrank » 15 May 2018, 12:47

Thanks Bernie,

Kenneth2816
Posts: 752
Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17

Re: Old Birds -Edit 1

#5 Post by Kenneth2816 » 15 May 2018, 16:56

Yeah.

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 893
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Old Birds -Edit 1

#6 Post by SivaRamanathan » 15 May 2018, 19:11

Frank

Loved reading this.You can make two poems out of this--one long narrative and another with parrots taking centre stage.

Siva

Bernie01
Posts: 780
Joined: 30 Jul 2015, 11:14

Re: Old Birds -Edit 1

#7 Post by Bernie01 » 15 May 2018, 22:49

Frank---


Near the Thames a parrot sanctuary
rests on stone haunches as double bass
toots from river tugs drift over.

Psittaciformes: parrots, parakeets,
macaws, parottlets, amazons, rosellas,
lories, lorikeets and cockatoos too.

Money to open the sanctuary
came from the gold rings found
in the ears of dead sailors.

Bird lovers now remember the museum
in wills, property settlements,
tax rebates and stock market kills.

Visitors throng to the museum,
take tea and happily make friends
with the birds who love the attention.


now---the bird talk---make it rich, brighter than vaudeville.

mention ships? bon Homme Richard....


great sea battles....Trafalgar....Hampton Roads,

Horatio Nelson, Frances Drake. pirates? Calico Jack, Henry Morgan, Bluebeard

then a flash bird quote....something original...like a T-Shirt label today...


Death...Scurvy Scum....


have fun....


bernie

FranktheFrank
Posts: 1290
Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Location: Between the mountains and the sea

Re: Old Birds -Edit 1

#8 Post by FranktheFrank » 16 May 2018, 09:39

Haha, thanks Bernie

BobBradshaw
Posts: 917
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Old Birds - Edit 2

#9 Post by BobBradshaw » 16 May 2018, 19:50

Much better... lots of possibilities here... trim, trim and hone some of the language... brighten up the descriptions around the birds... oh you can have fun with this one... can’t wait to see this poem evolve

FranktheFrank
Posts: 1290
Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Location: Between the mountains and the sea

Re: Old Birds - Edit 2

#10 Post by FranktheFrank » 16 May 2018, 20:59

Thanks Bob,
Bernie makes me work so hard. :)

Kenneth2816
Posts: 752
Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17

Re: Old Birds - Edit 2

#11 Post by Kenneth2816 » 17 May 2018, 00:27

Frank this story is worth all the effort you will put into it.

Bernie01
Posts: 780
Joined: 30 Jul 2015, 11:14

Re: Old Birds - Edit 2

#12 Post by Bernie01 » 17 May 2018, 01:25

ah, W. C. Fields....


humor....imagine him a parrot....


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOHGr8r5Cs4


nice line:

feathers, and gilded cages
of all shapes and sizes.



bernie

FranktheFrank
Posts: 1290
Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Location: Between the mountains and the sea

Re: Old Birds - Edit 2 and Then a Short Version

#13 Post by FranktheFrank » 18 May 2018, 22:43

I love W. C. Fields
I only met him midway through my life.
Sitting on a dark wet night alone
this film came on the TV
and there was drunken Fields
fending off the blind man in the grocery shop
and life and light came into my life again.

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