In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk

The Parrot Repetitive


The parrot in his cage is sitting pretty, hanging on tight. Meanwhile, Mr Toad is enjoying himself in the chaos he’s been allowed to stir up. Chaos is Toad’s element. It tends to follow him, with cameras. Presumably those who’ve granted Toad this scope find chaos fun as well.

The first few lines here contain a whole list of references and ideas from the original “Speak Parrot” poem by John Skelton. Most come from one or another of the rhyme royal stanzas in which he wrote it. But Skelton was unruly and exuberant. Sometimes he couldn’t contain himself within the formal rhyme scheme and threw in extra notes and comments between them. The “anima” reference is a case in point. It means “soul” in Greek. In quoting it, Skelton is implying (I think) that the parrot can be likened to the soul. It is the soul we must allow to speak, the soul we must nurture and listen to.