Did you know that
starlings are the most literary of birds?
In conference they argue the merit, or not,
of each tasty morsel that may come their way.
Their noisy debate may seem raucous,
bitter to the untutored ear:
so often a contest in caucus
can lead one to mock and to sneer.
What should the importunate writer expect,
what cause does he have to complain:
haven't we come to believe spleen essential
In the Literary World of today?
Last week one such brilliant creation
came into my house uninvited,
his plumage all battered and blackened
by a fall. You see
he came in by way of the chimney,
oh, not bearing gifts like a saint,
more like a burglar bungling,
(with theft a common complaint!)
His point of ingress, so assembled, so poised,
not a piece, I would swear, out of place,
became the first toy of his cynical game:
I witnessed the look on his face.
His fury, his flapping, his gleeful
swagger and spatter and bile,
upended and tipped,
felled and destroyed
each feature of beauty and grace.
As ornament crashed, I'll admit it,
my patience was tried beyond measure,
though I soon got to wondering whether
his motive was malice or fear:
the mem'ry of earlier trauma we know
can move one to hate or to tears.
What more I did wonder could my visitor do
to assuage his poisonous need?
What else had I left for his words to revile,
to punish, to batter, to bleed?
The answer was not long in coming,
his object to carp and to pry,
he made his way into my study
where my poor fledgling work caught his eye:
my words full of promise but weakling,
so eager, so yearning to fly,
so careful, so sharp yet so weighty,
so funny, so sunny, so wry.
Oh, an erudite bird this fine starling,
a master of meter and line,
the best of his work was well noted:
so witty, so shitty, so dry!
My tremulous whimpers of protest,
my words of defence and defeat,
provoked mere derision,
he made his decision:
where better to make his reply?
CRAP was the adjective, noun and the verb,
such was the quality of his wit,
but I decided to scorn this scatological slur:
one should never accept such lit. crit.
Look, I know for a fact,
- and you know I was there -
Neither comment nor scrutiny ever climbed clear
- and I think you'll admit this completely unfair -
Of the titles, the contents and blurb.
He escaped my worst of intentions,
left hastily by a wife-opened door;
while I was left fuming, enfeebled, reviewed,
the starling, he greeted the wide-open blue:
rejoicing, exulting, renewed!
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