I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

13 August 2016

Goodbye, Little Yellow Bird

It was done very politely,
but I can recognise a brush-off – 
if a bit belatedly.

Your new man
wants to cage you.
I guess the shit hit the fan

when he realised that I
was able to see this
with my clear, grandmotherly eye

and that I did not
modify my rage, in saying to you
everything I thought.

So now I join the many
friends denied your new number.
Will you be left with any?

Well, you’re 26
and desperate for love.
This I can’t fix.

More fool me?
But I said what I could, and God help you!
What will be, I suppose, will be.



‘Goodbye, Little Yellow Bird’ is an old music hall song. It tells the story of a canary in a gilded cage, who fell in love with a passing sparrow. But she told him she’d rather be free, even in the cold of winter, ‘than in a cage of gold.’ The story of me and my young friend is different; obviously no romance between us, and my friend is the one freely choosing the cage – or so it appears to me. Still, when I received the polite brush-off email (after 12 years of relating like family) the title of the song popped straight into my head.


Linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #315


44 comments:

  1. Regardless of how pretty they might be, cages are always prisons... even if the caged bird can't see the lock. It's terrible when we are looking from the outside and can do little about the situation.

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  2. Yikes. Fair warning! I feel the depth of emotion when the cage door is already closed!

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  3. Life is such that it won't give wisdom in youth...sigh...

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    1. Yes, how true. Now that I come to think of it, many people warned me against my disastrous first marriage, when I was 22 – but I wouldn't be told.

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  4. Inevitably, the day will come when she realizes you were right. The hardest thing for me to do has been to watch my daughters making this same choice. I, too, carefully said what I observed and heard "i'm doing it anyway" with the inevitable results. Sigh. It takes women so long to grow wise. Your poem is beautiful and sad. And I love the title.

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    1. Thank you. I hope your daughters are better off now.

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    2. One married happily, the one who said "I'm doing it anyway" - not. But she is strong and will escape and be all right.

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  5. She undoubtedly cannot see the forest for the trees are in the way. One always wonders what one should say when one notices the direction someone is walking on the path of life. To say something or say nothing. You made your choice, & she has chosen what to do with your wisdom. Who knows what the future will bring for her!

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  6. Well composed. Sadness combined with sweetness. Thank you for sharing this.

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  7. Oh how achingly beautiful in the poem itself and in the pain of the backstory ... This young woman has doubled her foolishness in choosing the cage and in locking out the wisdom and love of one as kind and clear as you.

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  8. You never want to listen until the door is closed... I thought of Maya Angelou and caged bird reading yours.

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  9. Oh this is so beautifully poignant.. and I can completely relate to it as I too have been 'politely brushed off' by my peers at times. I guess sometimes you just have to let them go. We deserve so much better. xo


    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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    1. Anyone who would brush you off, Sanaa, it's definitely their loss!

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  10. A brush-off gives a choice whether to accept or not.The tendency is to just ignore and get on with life. There are many others more deserving of one's friendship!

    Hank

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    1. Well, this friend has had some second thoughts about the brush-off if not the cage, so there is still some slight connection after all, but on a much more superficial level.

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  11. Good advice seldom receives a welcome. Sadly the best lessons learned are the mistakes we make by ourselves as desire often overwhelms commonsense. As you say "Que sera sera".

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  12. As ever your unique voice carries this story home - i only hope he will see sense.. even the world is a cage of sorts. we need our friends..

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    1. How very acute you are, Jae! And quite right. xx

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  13. i too would opt for the freedom fly

    Have a nice Sunday Rosemary

    much love...

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    1. Thanks, Gillena and same to you. Mine is finished now and I am off to bed. :)

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  14. You had a vision and wished to share. hoping to leave the door ajar...we are caged in so many ways we need some freedom in life.

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  15. I love how conversational this is... like you're talking this aloud. It makes the reader feel like they're listening in. Really nice.

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    1. Thank you; I'm glad you liked that aspect.

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  16. Blessings to your wisdom! Great comparison with the song!

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    1. I suppose for me it's an old symbol of being caged; I heard it often as a child, when it was popular on radio.

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  17. Cages are always cages--even the pretty ones--felt this piece in my bones

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  18. Replies
    1. It was certainly written with great feeling!

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  19. What a helpless feeling, to see what is happening and not be able to influence it. Your friendship may give her strength, yet.

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  20. Que Sera Sera!
    Grandmotherly eyes never lie & words & feelings are often right!

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  21. We all live in cages of our own making. Security has its charms.

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  22. It often takes a wise outsider to see the cage; the one inside is usually or chooses to be blind to the bars. There is a lot to learn from this poem.

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  23. I saw this as, to use an old quote "hindsight being a wonderful thing" and if friendship could open a cage, that would be perfect. Well penned and a really good read

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  24. It's hard for those of us who have reached an age where we have acquired a bit of worldly wisdom by virtue of having lived a lot of life - to hold our tongues and watch our young ones set off down a path we KNOW will not end well. There doesn't seem to be a tactful way to convey an odious truth - so I, pretty much, just go for it, and say my piece. Sometimes they listen. Sometimes they don't. I enjoyed reading this.

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