When I was a girl, my father kept aviaries of canaries and budgerigars. He loved these little birds and I loved to see them darting about like so many tiny bright arrows. I remember the parrot but it didn’t belong to us and now I have no idea who brought it into the house. I think it must have only been staying for a short time because, apart from this one vivid memory, it was gone. I would translate these birds into bits of writing and even now, when I look at a page, I can still sometimes see golden full stops, exotic blue and green commas and semi-colons and the odd dazzling colour of the exclamation mark! Wishing everyone a safe and happy New year and may every day be a good writing day.
There were canaries through all those years,
Endlessly flying down the days
Like little golden full stops
At the end of a sentence.
There were budgerigars, too.
Blue and green, chittering and chattering
Like commas or semi-colons
Taming an especially unruly paragraph.
And there was one great question mark of a parrot.
Where did he come from?
Who brought him in?
Sitting wherever he chose,
Staring at us with a cool, sardonic eye.
Shouting and swearing,
‘Shivering his timbers,’
Like some old sea tossed sailor.
Every squawk an exclamation mark on a really
Exciting piece of writing.
But I liked the little wren
Singing in the garden,
Startling the silence
Like a poem.
© 2018 Gwen Grant