Friday, 15 March 2013

odd of the Liver Bird

odd of the liver bird
odd of the liver bird

by Philip Lee

deus nobis haec otia fecit


eh blue which god vouchsafed this perch
so far above the ships at berth
in fervent scenes of graft or work

and did I plead for such a perk
to stand and squawk for what it's worth
a-skulking here all out to lurch

d'ye ken the gulls on yonder church
St. Nicks by name that comb the earth
like sparrows while in belfries lurk

the nightshift bats none miss the quirk
of early worms for there's a dearth
and precious nowt without a search

but micky blue to whom the beak did dirge
flew fleet and dumbly by the giant's verge

next up a passing heron heard
the windy whistling liver bird
to whom this sounded quite absurd

well hark at you disgusted said
to sit atop of all this lead
whyever don't you turn your head

in heaven's name but drop your guard
that jobless men from bars now barred
may drink to how unjust and hard

life is or like the Coogan kid
step father in that film he did
the time by art and dodge outbid

but so in awe of being over-looked
you'd only boo a goose whose gander's cooked

not so I swear by docker's hook
and don't deserve that last rebuke
nor play the drake to sleeping duck

you kick me when I'm down my luck
don't think I'd baulk to plant this duke
between the bills of any crook

that tried to take me for a rook
he's drunk who thinks a fancy's fluke
has pitched me o'er this pool of pluck

some god it was that passed the buck
from eyrie roof in reign to spook
those seamen who his rule forsook

so on the bird would plead of passing folk
if any of them knew which godly bloke

till late one night the bird awoke
amid colliding coils of smoke
to list as owl his tuppence spoke

with copper claws you craft and grope
a feather-brain on tether rope
and brazen wings you're past all hope

the myth of you is out of vogue
a specious cant your windy brogue
you're but the idol of a rogue

no god gave you this perch the globe
to watch no lord of patient Jobe
but bad king John in ermine robe

with falcon seal this borough he enrolled
in subs for which the barons pledged much gold

a moment's whistling wake was held
then dockers' hooks from decks were hurled
and ancient stories of the gulled

retold their souls from oceans pulled
and slaves transported half the world
to die in chains new lives revelled

as like from kings and queens rebelled
the empire's folk their flags unfurled
and union jacks from yardarms culled

the copper hulks turned rotten hulled
to sink while round the globe they curled
their feathers brained and nuts unshelled

thus godforsaken liver bird was penned
to roost in effigy at pier's end

Sock it to 'em!
Sock it to 'em!

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  1. I take it you are a Liverpudlian!!! Anyway, clever and fun, but the poem would be MORE fun with FEWER lines.

    1. Well, thanks for that. Sorry it went on too long for you,


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