Popular Posts

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Devil Birds

being my response to the picture prompt from Magpie Tales

Six years ago they came,
a dark smudge in the sky,
no more than that at first -
but then they came to Earth.
On land they were supreme.
Big as Christmas turkeys,
with wings that hid the sun;
claws fit to rip a rib
cage bar from flimsy bar
and take the beating heart;
and beaks like bayonets.
They'd run you through without
a flutter or a qualm.
They might have come from Mars.
No man or beast was safe.

The spellbinder was spell-
bound, for a change. Poleaxed
he was, with that same awe
he'd strike into our hearts.
For all he tried this charm
or that, wails to the moon
or potions by the score,
the birds just laughed at him
and wobbled on their way.

And then one day our plants
began to wilt and die.
Followed by our children.
"Disease," the charmer said.
Dunno if he was right
or not, not for meself.
Anyways, he mixes up
a new concoction: blood
and scrapings from the dead,
and disappears. Where to?
Your guess... soon after that,
the devils start to die.

So what's he do? Tells us
how we must hang them - string
them up to decompose.
Each day he takes one down
and roasts it - not to eat,
oh no, we has to smear
ourselves with grease and blood.
Protection's what he says -
from evil influence,
the birds themselves, their dread
disease... and from ourselves!
Can you beat that? Ourselves indeed!


Nicholas V. said...

Loved it! There's something primitive and inhumanly human about the poem that play out all of our archetypal fears and hopes...
Great take on this rather pedestrian image.

Isabel Doyle said...

Dark lines. I particularly liked the 'wings that hid the sun'.

Nice work Mr King!

jabblog said...

'claws fit to rip a rib
cage bar from flimsy bar' - very striking and something of a tongue twister.
The things people do to protect themselves . . .

Word verification is 'sodsiest' - what a wonderful adjective that would be!

TechnoBabe said...

Protection from ourselves, eh? If only.

Brian Miller said...

protect us from ourselves...great line...i almost wrote the same comment as techno...haha..seriously word for word because i feel that...

sunny said...

Hi Mr Dave,another master piece,sounds great

JeannetteLS said...

I shuddered. Just shuddered, it rang so true, on ever-so-NOT-so pretty ways. Another strong one.

kaykuala said...

Awesome imagery! Protection 'from ourselves?' A clever punch-line that kept the poem lingering in our mind. Excellent verse Mr Dave!


anthonynorth said...

Powerful and dark with an excellent - and true - ending.

ArtistUnplugged said...

Wow, this is a powerful one, that's some massive wings that hid the sun and strong talons!!!!

Susie Clevenger said...

This reads like a medieval tale of witches and sorcery...love it. Good job!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading that, nice and dark.

Friko said...

How lovely to see you again, Dave.

Gruesome image and gruesome poem. Can't say that I particularly liked this prompt, but it has moved you to say something profound and eminently readable, whereas all i could come up with was twaddle.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Another great poem, Dave.

Mama Zen said...

Fantastic take on the picture!

Victoria said...

There is something almost mythical about your take on the photo,Dave. Probably not a prompt I would have jumped at but you did it well.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Ugh...so creepy and sinister. That's a compliment, I promise.

Windsmoke. said...

Very dark and sinister imagery it reminded me of the bird flu that was sweeping the world a few years back :-).

Ann Grenier said...

So imaginative. I do agree the birds are very disturbing, eliciting thoughts of evil. I think we are on the same page with regard to protection from ourselves. I like your response.

Morning said...


Thanksgiving Turkey, Christmas Ham, those are equivalent to Peking duck.

Dulcina said...

Alfred Hitchcock would have liked your poem for a thriller, fantastic, Dave!
What a nightmare!
It's a kind of gothic story based on real facts.
These are my favourite lines:
- claws fit to rip a rib
cage bar from flimsy bar
and take the beating heart.

The end in the kitchen made me laugh and relax.
Protection from ourselves, yes indeed!
Well, your fearful story has held me spellbound.

Christine said...

Very good turn in the last lines. 'Ourselves indeed'. We can be so easily become enemies of ourselves...!!

Doctor FTSE said...

Powerful poem, well constructed.

Dave King said...

Hi, welcome and thank you for your comments. Really good to have them.

Hi Thanks for another welcome response.

Indeed, and to protect themselves from what? Little or nothing very often. Yup, I really like sodsiest!

There could be a fortune in that for someone!

I must admit I wondered how it would go down when I wrote it.

Thanks yet again sunny.

Sometimes I get to think that truth and not-so-pretty are related - or am I getting cynical in my old age?

Really good to hear that you liked it. Thanks for saying so.

Trellissimo said...


Dave King said...

Good to have your thoughts. Thank you.

Many thanks for these kind words.

A warm welcome to you. Good to have your comments. Thank you for them.

Hi! Good to have you visitng. Thank you for dropping by to give your thoughts.

Yes, great to meet up once more, thank you for the visit and for your very generous comment. I thought your sneeked peak was a rather nifty response!

Too kind! - But very much appreciated. Thanks.

Mama Zen
Thank you, your comment is very much valued.

There's maybe a private myth, even if an embryonic one: I was attacked by geese on one occasion as a small boy - or I thought I was being. Traumatic at the time, though.

And I love creepy compliments. Thank you.

Mmmm, it did me when I wrote the disease bit.

Thank you. Protection from ourselves seems to have elicited a fairly general response!

Indeed. Good to hear from you.

What a lovely resonse. Thank you so much for it. It is good to hear how others see my stuff.

Yes, it's true. So many of our difficulties are self-inlicted, I think.

Doctor FTSE
Very many thanks for this.

Dave King said...

Really good to have your visit, and thank you for commenting.