"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A pot of musical canary flavoured jam - yummy

Poetry jam time again this week with the wonderfully versatile Brian stirring the ingredients. What our chef is looking for this week is "to pick a favorite song and either use a line from the song in your poem or write a poem inspired by that song."
I haven't exactly gone for a favourite song but its a blast from the past from the seventies. It reached number one, so I'm hoping younger people will have heard of it. Forget Dylan and Cohen - this was the anthem of the poetic generation of the seventies, seeking a new direction after the sixties went off the road in spectacular fashion.
This is my George Lucas style prequel to the song in question...


They say she was once a canary, my mother,
whistling gaily in exotic climes,
flitting between gnarled juniper bushes
with a flip of her tail
until my father threw his hat over her,
cupped her in his strong hands
and placed her in a cage in Francis Street,
where he showed her off to the neighbours.

He taught her how to be a woman,
how to cook dinners and sew
and hoover and not to answer back
and slowly my mother’s feathers moulted
and her beak became lips
and she began to walk,
awkwardly at first, like someone
woken after too long a sleep.

But, despite my father’s success,
he knew it was only a matter of time.
One day he would come home
to find the cage door open
and the seeds untouched
and he would know that she’d be
soaring and swooping beneath a big sun
in a land far away.

True enough, recently I have noticed
her arms have become flatter like wings
and her toes have developed claws.
I hear her fluttering in her bedroom
at nights when he is not there
and last night,
I heard my mother singing a song -

Ooo-ooo-wee, chirpy-chirpy, cheep, cheep...


  1. I'm probably one of those who 'went off the road'
    in the 60s! But I still have enough stuff left to appreciate a good poem when I read one!

  2. at last the deeper meaning of that song is revealed...

  3. Is this a Barry Manilow song (Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl...) I can imagine singing it to your poem. Very creative post ~

    Nice to meet you ~

  4. ok, i dont know the ref but it does not keep me from appreciating the verse...a sad tail/tale to tell...becoming a prize is not much a way to live...you may want to put down some news paper on the floor, just saying...smiles. really well told.

  5. Very interesting song! Love this canary as mom leaving home; "She's Leaving Home" by the Beatles is brought to mind!

  6. I enjoyed the poem enormously. I wish I weren't so lame as to not get your song reference. Can you give me a clue?

  7. Okay, it appears the song is only known to myself and Baggers and was not the big transatlantic hit I'd imagined, so I've added a video at the bottom of the post. My apologies.
    Helen - liar! you aren't old enough to remember the sixties
    Niamh - next week, the Sweet's Little Willy
    Karen - many thanks
    Heaven - Hi! I know the line that's getting you - the one about feathers in her hair! But no, not Barry!
    Brian - yes, the bird crap did my head in
    Chic - love that Beatles song. But it was about a daughter and mine won't leave the house.
    Chris - you are not lame. I'm insular. I've added a video.

  8. Well I had not ever heard that song either :) But your poem is fabulous anyway. I hope she flies away soon!

  9. so sad but glad her wings grow again..and hope she spreads her wings and flies again..

  10. I'm sure her voice soon recovered too;-)

  11. I have never heard the song, but it does not take anything away from the poem. I love the idea of going full circle. May she soar soon!