Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

A Bird Named Johann Wolfgang Von G. - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

The Farmer's Market, by the tracks
was where you'd buy from hornet's wax
to octopus and chestnut pie
all things that would be, to a guy
quite non-essential but a must.
It was designed to end all frust
through its exotic qualities
and rather inexpensive fees.

When in the morning Joe stopped in
the farmer's kids restocked the bin
and on a perch above the eggs
a parrot, who had hairy legs
was sitting and reciting stuff.
The Farmer's wife, a rather gruff
substantial lady counting money
said to the bird 'Now listen Honey,
I know your name is Johann, bless
so go and talk but please don't mess
onto the produce here today
or you will have to go away.'

When Joe looked up at the strange bird
he liked his looks but when he heard
the words that came like idle chatter
out of the beak, all in a matter
of seconds and it never stopped....
the Farmer's wife who had just mopped
some droppings of the talking bird
and also a much larger turd
that was forgotten by a horse
replied to him, 'oh yes, of course,
he is for sale, a pleasant critter',
Joe worried he could be a shitter,
'I wonder would you farmers take
a dollar for this brazen fake? '

The bird was muttering a curse
and then resumed his German verse.
The deal was done, the two departed
and, in the car bird Johann started
to rattle poems, one by one
it sounded great and Joe had fun.
And when they reached the house at last
he thought that he had found a blast,
a soul to fill his empty days
he had been looking for new ways
to entertain himself since June,
his wife, had passed away, too soon.

She had been his exclusive gem
but in the storm she'd caught her hem
out on the porch, where she fell over
while looking for their dog named Rover.
And lightning struck her, killed her dead
since then he was alone in bed.

And when a man is all alone
he can peruse his telephone
but Joe did need another toy
as every man remains a boy
and needs to sing and dance and play
to be internally okay.

Meanwhile Johann was talking loudly
reciting poetry so proudly
all ancient German verse and rhyme
with cultured voice, accent sublime.

So, right away he turned him loose
when sounds of things like Mother Goose
came out and filled up to the ceiling
the air and Joe did get the feeling
that there was more to this cute creature
and that he could act as a teacher
if he was truly gifted thus
it would be great for youngster Gus.

So he decided to determine
if all the talking was a sermon
that had been taught to Mister Parrot
by someone smart, with whip and carrot.

'Say, John, I see that you are smart,
and poetry is quite an art
but tell me, what about your name,
and is it all a clever game?
So, if you are more than a bird
I'd like to know, because you stirred
inside my head as much emotion
as I perceived in my devotion
to her, who died from lightning strike
I tell you, what that girl was like,
she'd read to me from the old Masters
while all around there were disasters
and here I sit most every night
and nothing in my life is bright.'

'Now listen, Johann is my name,
and if to you, it's all the same
I am the one who wrote each poem
it takes some talent just to know 'em,
Don't give me whistles, songs and bells
because each poem surely tells
a story of profoundest treasure
and thus conveys exquisite pleasure
so take my word, I'd like to stay
to make your life, extremely gay.'

Just then Joe's eyes, a trifle damp,
the parrot landed on the lamp
and, sitting on the very edge
recited then the poem 'Pledge'.
And he recalled the poem's title
just when he thought of Poet Eitel
Then he swooped down with a slight whirr
to Joe the world was now a blur
he told the bird how he'd felt sorry
after the death, (a heartfelt story) ,
and how he had combed through the net
to find distraction and to get
into a site of poetry
he sensed that it would be the key
to get away from television.

Well, soon he made the bold decision
to sign up at the P/H site,
and he would visit there all night
to read it all, the posted works
of poets, wannabe's and jerks.
And in the end he was confused
and entertained but not amused
he found that some did have the class
but others were razzamataz,
and in the search for more decorum
he ended up inside the forum.
He saw how they were really fighting,
the ambience was quite exciting
and some would yell and others cuss
he wondered then about the fuss
and saw that comments were designed
to keep one's ego well aligned
while others couldn't understand
why more than one creative brand
could have a right as it existed
if it was never really listed
in certain books of editors.

So these passé competitors
were causing havoc on the site
which absolutely was not right.
And, of them all, the biggest gripe
was the reaction to a swipe
by expert poets, residential
who handed out the quintessential
advice, and forced it down the throats
of those, while following their notes.

The bird had been so very quiet
but now he said 'This is a riot,
these people do not know a thing
and it is I who is the King,
I tell you we will have our sessions
each night to lift you from depression,
I will take out from my big stash
for you a new one from the ash
of history's greatest collection.

I will recite them with inflection
of the old Masters, just because
it is that poetry that was
and is and will remain the best
new poetry cannot be blessed
a poem's mandate is to rhyme
all other writing is a crime,
you will, through the preponderance
of my work find deliverance
so I am glad to be your friend
as you will, truly, in the end
find happiness within this life
and it will honour your dear wife.'

And for a minute, not a sound
was audible but then they found
that all that had been said was true
and that the sky would now be blue.

For decades they lived with each other
and Joe did care just like a mother
they spent their evenings in trance
and watched the poems do their dance.
Inside the house they filled the shelves
inside their heads were little elves
who hopped around to laugh and tease
creating poetry to please
and Johann studied all the new
substandard non-creative brew.

But on a sunny day in May
he read an utterly okay
free verse poetic little work
at first he'd thought, oh what a jerk
but then he read it and he knew
that this was poetry, not poo.

And what he had considered crap
fell in one swoop into his lap,
he picked it up and said 'dear God,
will you my Lord give this the nod
as I do think that this is good,
and wonder truly, if I should
perhaps look into this free style
so would you walk with me a while? '

And God was silent since he reckoned
that evolution called and beckoned
and that this Johann could well flex
he was beholden to no Hex,
so from that day the bird composed
what he had previously (hard-nosed)
rejected as inferior writing
and criticized with rather biting
and stinging words in days gone by.

He stood and sang the Lorelei
and then he counted one to seven
and stated that up there, in Heaven
the judges lived and not on earth.
That all new poems, at their birth
would 'as of right' be called exciting
which would encourage further writing,
and that no judgment was required
as it would be (for sure) admired
by one at least, the one who wrote it.

And with some luck, he'd even quote it
and find receptive open minds
and not those experts with their blinds.

So, in the end the parrot learned
that those of us who are concerned
about the work of others should
remember that they could and would
create what Johann calls 'superb',
I see a sign 'Do Not Disturb'
it is my signal to go back
to my creative writing track.

And as to rhyming or free verse
you will not find a valid curse
so let us write just from the heart
and dwell inside this brilliant art.

Comments about A Bird Named Johann Wolfgang Von G. by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (7/19/2008 3:50:00 AM)

    Thank you H. for direction and the diversity of this poem.. does remind me about NZ parrots.. (the least colourful in the world) .. but also the most fascinating.. just like the many facets that make-up both poetry and poets..
    aroha xx PS.. am a little 'Kakariki' (green parrot) about this one...

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  • (3/6/2007 11:26:00 AM)

    interesting poem i must say. I think I must have miss a lot in this place. Wish I could have got here sooner :)


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  • (2/7/2006 8:16:00 AM)

    Oh yes........one of your ''shorter'' pieces huh? ? Very funny! I think this was a wonderful story Herbert. I love how it came around to P/H. I didn't expect that. A good lesson in there too... Great poem. Sincerely, Mary (Report)Reply

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  • (2/6/2006 5:34:00 AM)

    Hilarious and insightful. Some stinging lines, but that's the whole point. It certainly gets me. Julia (Report)Reply

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  • Linda Hepner (9/2/2005 2:21:00 PM)

    This is hilarious like a short story, flows fast and kept me amazed, even more when you referred suddenly to RE!

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  • (8/5/2005 10:52:00 AM)

    Herbert, as usual you have delighted me. What fun...and what a lot of rhyme! I'm not sure how I feel about having my name dropped in a poem so full of bird poo...but everything came out alright so it's ok. :)


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  • (8/4/2005 5:40:00 AM)

    Has a good flow, and the morals of the poem are creativitly lay'd down. (Report)Reply

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  • (8/4/2005 4:18:00 AM)

    Good one Herbert, despite my disdain toward narrative poetry. But I believe we've been down that road before? As that towering intellect Paul Hogan, might say in the circumstances: 'avagoodone.' Cheers, Jerry (Report)Reply

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  • (8/4/2005 3:57:00 AM)

    Thank you Marcy, if you look in the forum you will see that I wrote this, tried to submit and LOST it! So, you might know how hard it is to rewrite a poem from memory....
    Good rhyming stuff you posted here, I hope you like more things about Germany, please read Wilhelm Busch! Also, ich moechte gern Herbert heissen, keine Abkuerzung.
    Best wishes

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 4, 2005

Poem Edited: Sunday, July 15, 2007

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