Somewhere Else Writers (SEW) June 22: Graham Bruce Fletcher

Graham Bruce Fletcher

This month’s poem, ‘Misheard Lyrics’ by Graham Bruce Fletcher, is an ironic reflection on what birdsong means.

Graham said: ‘Romantic poets like to make a fuss over Spring flora and fauna and imagine that everything in the garden is ‘lovely’, but life wasn’t created to please people (as the swimmer realised when he saw a Great White Shark approaching.) It’s best to be neither an optimist nor a pessimist; to try to be realistic – not deluded by things many people want to believe. Some of the facts of life are so uncomfortable that the easiest way to cope with them is to laugh. Victoria Wood and Pam Ayres were experts at spotting absurdities and lampooning them.

‘This little rhyme steals from Keats, Eleanor Farjeon (who wrote the hymn ‘Morning Has Broken’) and Paul McCartney. It probably helps if the reader can imagine it being spoken by an effete man dressed in a velvet jacket, with lace cuffs and jabot, clutching a wilting flower. Stella Gibbons’ Mr Mybug in her novel ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ would be an appropriate personification, if he were played by an actor with a fear of butterflies.’

To read Graham’s poem go to cirenscene.com

To read more work by Cirencester writers go to somewhere-else-writers.org

Misheard Lyrics

In the tree a blackbird sings
shrill, bubbling ululations;
uncorks my human ear, which rings
to feathered modulations.

For me, no numbness – it awakes
uplifting inspiration
forget the hemlock; this song makes
my heart feel jubilation.

Not dead of night, not wing that’s broken;
but morning – now the blackbird’s spoken.
This bright spring song from up above
evokes the tones of courtly love:
with music phrased like sweet romance, he
turns a young (and old) man’s fancy.

The ornithologists now know
(they say) the meaning of his song
I heard it on the radio
apparently, I’m wrong.
His lyrics are no loving words
to arouse the females’ passion
but addressed to other, smaller birds
clothed in blue and yellow fashion.

‘Hey, you snivelling little tit!’
This blackbird’s really saying,
‘It’s not your tree; get out of it!’
Which is awfully dismaying.

Graham Bruce Fletcher

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