Saturday, September 21, 2019

the organ shrieking with fright

                                                                            Author: JLPhotoArt - Jeremy Lindstrom
Image: Railroad Tracks, an Organ, and a Seagull

Old Joe was in a dilemma
it came on too soon and too abrupt
heard say the electrification program was in earnest
new tracks with a different gauge needed to be laid
they had to encroach into his land
he had been forewarned
many months ago but did not take heed
some parts of the house had to be torn down

the organ shrieking with fright
was forcibly carried out of the way
the tree was pulled down,
and the birds lamented over its dead body

a pit stop for the seagulls
in their frequent forays inland
the tree was unceremoniously bulldozed

the organ silenced into submission
was now temporary perch for a lone seabird
Old Joe was expected to be a good listener
absorbing their woes
from birds who cared to stop

Old Joe was in it together
he sadly told the worried creatures
but they could still have options
they could stake their claim on nearby trees
when he had none

grudgingly he kept repeating
and the birds listened in sympathy and in silence
"homeless and helpless, homeless and helpless!"
Old Joe kept murmuring
I'm a happy soul but that's not what he meant!
"homeless and helpless"
and they nodded in unison

Carrie's Sunday Muse #74
MLMM's Saturday Mix  -  personification
Sherry's at Poetry Pantry #494


  1. A wonderfully told tale of loss. I love the direction you went with the photo Hank!

  2. Sometimes there are no good options, maybe still for the birds though.

  3. Normally there is some compensation for reclaimig land like this or was he just leaseholder? Either way he has the birds on side so he hasn't lost a friend although the one in the picture does seem to be stuffed!

  4. It's tough to communicate well when one is locked into their own perspective. At a certain point either Old Joe or the birds will need to switch up their approach.

  5. Dear Hank, I think this is a terrific poem, one of your best. Unfortunately the Moonlight Musings prompt was for prose, not verse, so we had to delete it. I very much hope you will link it to the Poetry Pantry instead! (It's up and running now.)

  6. I know of a family whose whole home was taken down for a roadway. I think they were compensated, moved into a new house. But all those memories are now forever lost.

    Each day is a present -
    Cheers, Jules

  7. A resonant story! And the sympathy between the two at the end was moving. :(

  8. Joe has a special affinity for the smaller creatures of the world. His relationship with them will sustain both him and them.

  9. This is excellent (and I agree with Rosemary, this is one of your best).. in the wake of "progress" there is always some that lay wasted.

  10. I agree, one of your best, Hank. You tell this so well. The birds would well understand being homeless and helpless, I think.

  11. What a powerful story - well said

  12. That story is amazing, Hank! So well told in poetry form.

  13. I love the sympathy between Joe and the birds - how homelessness and helplessness are universal concerns regardless of species.

  14. Hank, You did a stellar job with this one. This part really stands out for me.

    I'm a happy soul but that's not what he meant!
    "homeless and helpless"
    and they nodded in unison

  15. Whatever the loss it's extremely sad. Wonderfully written Hank.


  16. This is so well written! Especially like; "grudgingly he kept repeating and the birds listened in sympathy and in silence."

  17. I think this gull, like your Old Joe, is homeless and helpless, as he appears rooted to his base. I was touched by the plaintive tone of your words.

  18. ...the old man and the gull lamenting together...

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