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Poems from Francis Kerr Young

Back in Summer of Ninety-Four,
a gull espied in traffic's roar,
a lovely, tempting crust of bread:
"Now that is mine!" is what he said.
He gazed not left, he gazed not right,
his only thought: To get that bite.
To flee that road was far too far,
for he was hit by one fast car.

A small kid found this feathered fool
and brought him home straight after school.
It happened that Dad was a vet,
and soon that wing was firmly set.
"Now listen Craig," Dad told his child:
"You can't keep him because he's wild.
In six weeks time, he'll want to fly,
and if not freed, he'll surely die."

Craig understood, and gave a nod,
but yon gull looked decidedly odd.
He flapped about waving one wing,
his left snugged tight, inside a sling.
While waiting for the wing to mend,
Craig thought of names to call his friend.
From lots of names with lots of go,
he ended up with simply: Joe.

Joe's eyes were blue, blue as the sea,
his yellow beak, bright as could be.
Feathers of white, so smooth and neat,
he waddled round on two webbed feet.
Mum suggested it might be best
if Joe could sleep inside a nest.
A box with straw made a nice bed
to keep Joe warm inside the shed.

Now cats think birds are good to eat
and wounded birds are easy meat.
The cat next door thought Joe was game
just by the way he acted tame.
But Joe, he had another thought -
this nasty cat was needing taught
a lesson by our big beaked friend:
Joe pecked that cat on his rear end!

Take that! Bad cat! And that! And that!
And that! And that! And that! Bad cat!
The cat me-owed! and yeowed! in pain,
promising never chase birds again.

Six weeks went by, the wink of an eye,
it was not long until Joe could fly
off with his friends, off in the sea,
off to the sky, happy and free.
So Dad removed the splint and sling
and gently spread the healed-up wing.
Two or three days, now that's not long -
with exercise, it did grow strong.

The next two days proved Dad was right,
for Joe was poised, ready for flight.
A fair wind blew across the lawn,
Joe spread his wings and soon was gone.
Yet, sometimes Craig will search the sky
to watch seagulls go gliding by,
and wonders if there's one called Joe
who's looking down to mew 'Hello!'

Before we leave this car-struck bird,
just think about the tale you've heard:
Don't be like Joe who could not sing,
and ended up a silly wing-ding.
It's hard to play upon a swing
with a sore arm wrapped in a sling.
Play in the park, not on the road,
or you'll soon be an ambulance load!

Return to Poems from Francis Kerr Young


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