Terry Collett

Veteran Poet - 1,176 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

Little Lies Big Heart. Poem by Terry Collett


Janice undid
the budgie’s cage
and put in
her slim finger

and the bird hopped on
and she pulled out
her finger with the bird
still there not moving

not flying through the air
see
she said
she will not go

you stood watching
with your back
to the door
hands on

the wooden panel
she spoke to the bird
it cocked its head
she muttered

nonsense sounds
the bird moved
its wings
but didn’t attempt

to fly
just stared her
in the eye
I often get her out

to feel freedom
Janice said
moving around the room
the bird balancing

itself as she moved
what if the bird flew away?
you asked
it won’t

she said
but what if it did?
you said
Janice moved her head

to one side
in imitation
of the bird
her red beret

still in place
ah then
Gran would tan my hide
redder than my beret

she said
the bird walked
along her finger
but it won’t go

Janice said
and walked
to the open window
and held the bird there

the bird looked out
winking an eye
or so seeming
and looked away

but some time
you said
it might take flight
Janice walked

across the room
to the cage
and put the bird back
and closed the door

with a soft click
she smiled
maybe
she said

maybe
you moved away
from the door
and her gran came in

with sandwiches
on a large white plate
and put them
on the table

has Janice shown you
the budgie?
her gran asked
yes

you said
Janice looked at you
eyebrows raised
she didn’t open the cage

and get it out did she?
Janice looked away
no no
you said

she just pointed it out
and we spoke to her
o good
because she has

the terrible habit
of taking it out
when my backs turned
and one of these days

it will fly away
Gran moved back
to the kitchen
to fetch the other

tea things
Janice said
you lied for me
well I didn’t want

you to get into trouble
you said
Janice pulled a face
lies can land us

in Hell
she said
well it’s either Hell
or a good tanning

you said
she smiled
and sat at the table
and you sat beside her

hearing her gran
in the kitchen
with cups and saucers
and the kettle

whistling loud and clear
Janice’s hand
touched yours
and she whispered

in your ear
(so gran
wouldn’t hear)
you are a dear.

Submitted: Sunday, September 8, 2013
Edited: Monday, September 9, 2013

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