Illustration of parakeets by Audubon‘The Lyme Brain’s Refrain’ and Other Poetry by Jack DesBois The Society September 16, 2021 Children's, Culture, Humor, Poetry 14 Comments . The Lyme Brain’s Refrain, or At the Cupboard What am I doing? What am I doing? What am I, what am I, what am I doing? I’m doing something—something I’m doing— But what am I, what am I, what am I doing? What am I doing? Where am I going? Why am I here, and why am I not knowing? Knowing I’m doing and somewhere I’m going, But where I am going I’ve no way of knowing. Where am I going? When am I knowing? Tomorrow or Tuesday or when it starts snowing? When it starts snowing I’ll know where I’m going, But ‘til it starts snowing, to go without knowing? When am I knowing? Who am I seeing? Was what I was doing a seeing or being? Or finding or looking or thinking or fleeing? Or am I now seeing my looking for being? Looking for being, Finding for doing, Tomorrow and Tuesday and fleeing and shooing… Was one of these being the thing I was doing? Or was it an— Oh! That’s what I was doing. . . The Requirements of a Parakeet A parakeet needn’t be clever. A parakeet needn’t be smart. A parakeet needn’t tie knots in your head Or poke little holes in your heart. A parakeet needn’t keep secrets. It needn’t tell riddles or rhymes. It needn’t be savvy or sagely or sharp Or even keep up with the times. A parakeet might make you smile, But such is by no means required. It might make you shiver or quiver or frown. It might make you quite simply tired. A parakeet, then, you might notice, Can nearly be any odd way. It needn’t be written, it needn’t be heard, It needn’t be pungent or prickly or third, It needn’t, I hasten to add, be a bird, For parakeet, sadly, was never the word I ever intended to say. . . Jack DesBois is a singer, actor, and storyteller. He gives annual Epiphany season performances of “The Western Star,” which he wrote in 2016. He self-published a chapbook of short poems in 2018. As a singer, Jack has had the good fortune to solo in several of the great works of Baroque Oratorio, including Handel’s Messiah (Bass) and Esther (Haman) and J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (Jesus). Jack lives in Topsfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 14 Responses Mike Bryant September 16, 2021 These two fun poems have set me free. I just realized that, in fact, I’m not an old, dithering fool… I have Lyme Disease! Thanks for this brilliant excuse. I don’t want the cure… Reply jd September 16, 2021 Enjoyed both! I hope you don’t really have Lyme! Reply Jack DesBois September 16, 2021 Thank you, jd. Unfortunately, yes, I do have chronic Lyme and co-infections. Not fun, but a great teacher. Reply Peter Hartley September 16, 2021 Jack – these two poems get along at a cracking pace with flawless rhythm. You must have written them under divine influence and I’m wondering if the word you meant to say for “parakeet” was Paraclete. Reply Peter Hartley September 16, 2021 Esther – that’s the one with the harp solo isn’t it? My favourite composer, Handel, and I’ve got 69 boxed sets on vinyl. But I can’t even read music! Reply Jack DesBois September 16, 2021 I didn’t remember a harp solo – but I just looked it up and, yes indeed, it does have this beautiful tenor aria featuring harp, “Tune your harps”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaU3ubReGU0 I think we didn’t have a harp in our chamber ensemble when we did it… Jack DesBois September 16, 2021 Thank you, Peter! And thank you for venturing a guess–which is wrong. I wish it was Paraclete; the real intended word doesn’t actually fit the meter (and that’s the only hint I’m giving). Reply Paul Freeman September 16, 2021 The Lyme Brain’s Refrain – am I allowed to say Dr Seuss on acid? As for The Requirements of a Parakeet – very Lewis Carroll. Thanks for two mind-boggling reads. Reply Jack DesBois September 16, 2021 You’re welcome, Paul–thank you for reading. Not to nitpick, but couldn’t you call Lewis Carroll “Dr Seuss on acid”? Reply Sally Cook September 16, 2021 Something quite different which I enjoyed tremendously ! Let’s see more ! Reply Jack DesBois September 16, 2021 Thank you, Sally. I hope to submit more poems to SCP. I have to say, this has been a very warm and welcoming literary community to me. Reply Jeff Eardley September 17, 2021 Jack, the hallmark of a great musician is to write poetry that can morph into song. These are brilliant and highly entertaining. Here in England, we used to have the famous Flanders and Swann musical duo who delighted us with delights such as the Hippopotamus s song (mud, mud, glorious mud, nothing quite like it for cooling the blood) Your Parakeet piece is up there with them. Thank you Reply Jack DesBois September 17, 2021 Thank you, Jeff–especially for introducing me to Flanders and Swann and their Hippopotamus song. I can’t stop grinning. They definitely had a heavy influence on one of my favorite comedy duos, Fry and Laurie (whose “Mystery” ranks just a bit below mud, mud, glorious mud). Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 17, 2021 Jack, I’m drawn in by the rhyme, rhythm and song of both of these unique poems, but I especially like: It needn’t be pungent or prickly or third, It needn’t, I hasten to add, be a bird, For parakeet, sadly, was never the word I ever intended to say. These exquisite words are utterly, engagingly hilarious – imagining a pungent and prickly parakeet has me in stitches. I am really sorry to hear you have Lyme disease, but heartened to see humor in poetry is a positive side-effect. The poetry is also educative… and for that, I thank you. Reply Leave a Reply to jd Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.