Martin Parker


Cuckoo in the Nest

I’ve stuffed my one chick on a diet of worm
and the sorts of small insects that robins like best.
But now it’s the size of a small pachyderm
and its wings hang far over both sides of my nest.
And it’s far from becoming a robin.

Its coloring, too, makes me ask myself whether
my efforts are wasted. For each day I think
that there’s less and less prospect that even one feather
is turning bright red yet—or even pale pink—
to suggest it’s becoming a robin.

I’ve ruptured my voice box to teach it to chirp
in a twittering, chirruping, robinish trill.
But all I’ve got back is an ill-sounding “Burp.”
Still, I live with the hope that tomorrow it will
say “Cheep” and behave like a robin.

It’s a thankless great heap. It’s the size of a Jeep.
Its feathers aren’t red and its voice is too deep.
They say as you sow then that’s how you shall reap,
and I’ve sown weeks of love on this graceless young creep.
But I fear it requires more than one massive leap
of faith to believe it’s a robin.

Wet Kiss

We met beside The Serpentine.
You kissed me in the rain,

Your Nanny saw you do it,
so we never met again.

The sound of rain on water
still keeps that kiss alive—
which is pretty bloody tragic
now I’m sixty-five.

Mutants from the Planet Zog

So, amor vincit omnia, they say?
Well, not for every parent every day.

An alien force now rules your life.
Not again! you tell your wife.

And, though you both agree, it’s still
more than likely that you will.

For Man is weak. Love’s urge is stronger.
Tumescence brevis, penance longer.

“Cuckoo in the Nest,” “Wet Kiss,” and “Mutants from the Planet Zog” appear in I Think I Thought (Matador, 2017)

Martin Parker lives in Dorset, UK. In 2008 he founded Lighten Up Online, which he edited for seven years. The 102 poems of I Think I Thought, published in November 2017, are the ideal gift for those who, like its author, now feel that “. . . the face that views me from the mirror is no longer mine, / has lost its owner’s hair and looks depressed by what it sees . . .” and who would prefer a chance for laughter rather than the habitual socks, golf balls or potted plants! More examples from I Think I Thought are at