Joe Carrick-Varty

Two Poems

Four Words

I owned a house by the sea,
a cobbled walk, a hedge on one side
of a sloping garden with a kitchen-view

onto beach where,
a mile or so further, an ocean began,
and, to this day begins.

In his ninety-first summer
my father turned up at the front door with
a parrot named Blue who spoke four words:

‘Enough’, ‘Go’, ‘Help’, ‘Never’.
I fed them, dressed him,
bathed him, let him talk when he wanted.

After, it could be next week,
or tomorrow,
I’ll take the cobbled walk, its mile

of sand and slope, those dunes,
and swim in the same direction
that parrot flew one morning when,

with kitchen window open, cage open,
I spoke a word of his,
a hooked claw on first finger, lifting,

and listened as he repeated back,
just once,
then took to the air, just once.


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