Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

God, Is Charlie With You Now? - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

Charlie, the cockatoo,
who had lived with our family
for going on eleven years,
was enjoying himself,
talking, practicing a new,
and exotic monologue,
which would, as it always did,
surprise and entertain,
in a most unusual way,
the owners, who consisted
of a whole gaggle of
and that's what we were,
unruly, troublesome,
pestering, over-bored
and irresponsibly stupid,
kids and grown ups.

Well, never you mind,
all others, wild and free,
sitting there on your lofty,
and vinyl-clad telephone wires,
chests out and pompous smiles
on your silly faces,
beaks just like mine,
not as sharp and pointed,
I am the king, who,
in his enforced and
short-lived incarceration,
wait and see,
has let no minute pass,
no sunset turn its gray
and triste half-light,
without working on it,
The Plan, yes, I, Charlie,
calling it, and will be
remembered by,
for all times,
the Great Escape.

Sturdy wire, yes,
I understand,
making up the so called
structure, the skeleton
of the aviary,
my pathetic house
of galvanised steel,
but the gaps, you get it?
Are filled in
by a small-squared
and flexible,
and almost edible
mesh, courtesy of
the Sears, Roebuck
and Company,
Farm Division.

Yes I have been,
I was able to make time,
working on The Plan,
day in, day out,
talking, believe it
or not, simultaneously,
mouth full
of wire, to be spat
into a neutral spot,
not too obvious,
of course, what do you,
or, in fact what does anyone
think I am? Stupid?

Oh My God! Holy Eucalypt!
Arrrrgh. Eeeeh. Oooooghhh.

Dearly Beloved,
it is my sad duty today,
to announce the passing
of a great friend,
he was an entertainer,
a singer,
an orator,
no one told better,
or more elaborate jokes,
and tales, tales from,
among other regions,
much less important,
the outback, bush,
among the Gum Trees,
if you get my meaning,
he, you all know him by,
and loved him through
the name of Charlie,
had this grandiose plan.

God knows, he liked us all,
even loved us,
but there was something in him
that nothing and no one
can ever erase, or undo.

It's this freedom thing,
a true pre-occupation,
and it is with deep sorrow
that I hereby give unto you,
dear Lord, this bird,
a family member
of the highest standing,
to you, so that he may sit with you
in the Kingdom of Heaven,
to your right or your left,
to entertain you and to
be Charlie, Heavenly Charlie.

And Lord, it is of course,
and don't I know it,
none of my goddam business,
but why did you let Charlie,
our beloved cockatoo,
eat all the small wire,
making a hole,
big enough
to let that son of a
big mother-of-God
carpet snake python
slip in, eat Charlie and,
then, of all the strange things,
choke on his loveliness
and his own excess saliva?

God, you do work
in mysterious ways,
I just hope you two
like each other.

I am only five now,
and I will pray
each night
to you, of course,
and ask you,
Please take good care of
and love my best friend,
the feathered one
who can talk,
and could pray with you,
my best friend,

I know you will.

Comments about God, Is Charlie With You Now? by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (4/3/2005 11:08:00 AM)

    This is a masterful piece, Herbert...simply masterful. I wish I had a bird like Charlie...but...I did have a dog named Sally...


    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (4/3/2005 9:11:00 AM)

    Fascinating bird-poem! (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 2 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: family, friend, snake, sunset, freedom, god, believe, son, sorrow, today, sad, house, work, mother, heaven, hope, light, remember, smile, tree

Poem Submitted: Sunday, April 3, 2005

Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. Television
    Roald Dahl
  10. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
[Report Error]