The Pigeon

Once upon a workday morning, sleepy-eyed and loudly yawning,
I was splattered without warning by a pigeon from the shore.
At my half unconscious stupor, this unpardonable pooper,
Took his aim just like a trooper from a raging bloody war,
And he peppered me with pigeon poop he’d carried from the shore,
__This he did and nothing more.

In his enterprise to crown me, he succeeded thus to drown me
In such quantities of pigeon poop I’d not observed before.
Sprinting to avoid another slimy slingshot by his brother,
Or his sister or his mother that above me chose to soar,
Whereupon I tripped and fell flat on my face and loudly swore,
__Two bad words and nothing more.

While I lay upon the ground there, no assistance to be found there,
All those pigeons hovered round there in more numbers than before.
Though my patience I was losing, they continued with their cruising,
As the sticky slime was oozing over every facial pore.
And it dribbled in my eyes and mouth, it was the final straw,
__I was sickened to the core.

The icky slime… I couldn’t hack-it, so I ventured with my jacket
To remove the slimy sludge and my composure to restore.
But the sun so early breaking caused the sludge to begin baking,
So my frantic undertaking soon became a major chore,
And the sludge became a crusty yellow coating that I wore,
__Crusty crud and nothing more.

I endeavored to regain some of my dignity in vain,
While all those pigeons were insanely doing dive bombs by the score.
In my horror and confusion at their untimely intrusion,
I had come to the conclusion that ill-will for me they bore.
What’re the odds that they could ding me as they’d dung me once before?
__Stacked against me I felt sure.

As I stumbled to my feet and tried to make a swift retreat,
I saw my bus roll down the street, the number ten at ten o’four.
In my rapid reckless flight I must have made a funny sight,
To all those people (impolite) who gawked as I fell through the door.
They all stared at me and giggled as I stumbled through the door,
__Of the bus at ten o’four.

So when catching bus or trolley, to avoid this dreadful folly,
Always take along a brolly, this advice do not ignore.
Or as God is my religion, you’ll be peppered by a pigeon,
Or a seagull or a widgeon on vacation from the shore.
Countless birds with countless turds are on vacation from the shore,
__This they do and nothing more!



The Rhyme

There is nothing I find sweeter than the sound of rhyme and meter,
With a rhythm and repeater and a theme I can’t ignore.
Such a poem is a treasure which invokes in me great pleasure
And I study at my leisure, though I’m just an amateur,
And I wonder at my leisure will I be an amateur,
Just for now or evermore.

Now that youth is far behind me, it is likely you will find me,
With a book beside a brook or locked behind my chamber door.
To improve my writing powers, I will cram till the wee hours,
Reading Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Service by the shore.
I will study Edgar Poe and Robert Service by the shore,
Both my heroes ever more.

Since I left my home in Britain, quit Toronto weather-bitten,
Many poems I have written, some of which I now abhor.
But I give myself much credit as I do my best to edit,
To correct the way I said it and effect the perfect cure.
I will edit how I said it till I find the perfect cure,
Must it take forevermore?

Well I’m not much of a mover so I settled in Vancouver,
My devotion to the ocean is a thing I can’t ignore.
As I wander on the beaches learning all that nature teaches,
All the shorebirds give their speeches with a melody du jour.
How they hooter and they tooter with a melody du jour,
Let this be forever more.

I find lots of inspiration to invoke regurgitation
But my poor articulation is a lame contributor.
In my struggles at composing to awake you from your dozing,
I am mournfully supposing that my words may not endure.
Don’t expel me, please don’t tell me that my words may not endure,
Not for now or evermore.

As I humbly endeavor to create a work so clever,
I will never, never ever let them know I’m insecure.
As I work my rhyming baby, I am hoping that just maybe,
I’ll be read when I am dead just like the poets gone before.
But I fear my words may be as uninspiring as the floor,
Uninspiring to the core.

Of the poems I have penned, some quite truthful, some pretend,
All the glad ones and the sad ones about being at death’s door.
There are some that I will keep and some so bad they make me weep,
Some quite rotten, long-forgotten like the ancient dinosaur.
Really rotten, long forgotten like the ancient dinosaur,
Lost and gone forever more.

As I stammer and I stutter and beneath my breath I mutter,
Every single word I utter, I endeavor to conjure.
From green meadow to a bog, from fairy princess to a frog,
Till my rhyming dialogue is something no one can ignore.
I will work until my dialogue is such they can’t ignore,
If need be, for ever more.

On my travels near and yonder, I’ve found countless words to ponder,
And I stash them and rehash them like a literary whore.
And my efforts to create a poem worthy of narrator,
To engage a rapt spectator, two or three or maybe more,
Shall continue till my poetry does not evoke a snore,
Not for now or ever more.

My dictionary it lies open, full of countless words unspoken,
And my efforts are unbroken as I eagerly explore.
Every phrase I will untangle, I will look at every angle,
And will ultimately wangle to become the conqueror.
Oh, I pray that I will ultimately be the conqueror,
Must it take forever more?

In sincerity or caper I keep putting words to paper,
In the hopes that one-day I will pen a rhyme they can’t ignore.
With a simile here and there and a metaphor to spare,
I will lay my soul quite bare and consequently shall endure,
Or until my clumsy house of useless poems made of straw,
Lie in pieces on the floor.

The emotions I am wearing from elation to despairing,
I am brilliant, I’m resilient. I’m a dud, an amateur.
I would love to write a sonnet but the words aren’t in my bonnet
And although I’m working on it, all my efforts I deplore.
Though I do my best to write it, all my efforts I deplore,
Will I fail for evermore?

As I study never stopping for the perfect rhyme I’m shopping,
I keep adding words and chopping with a fever none can cure.
From my sleep I am awoken every night by the same token
And the bubbling words are spoken to the paper on the floor,
And I scribble in the darkness on the paper on the floor,
With a fever none can cure.

All this chatter that’s emerging, is it just a verbal purging,
From what origin this urging that I simply can’t ignore?
All the words that I have bled just keep repeating in my head,
Until I’m forced out of my bed to find the paper on the floor.
And I scribble in the darkness on the paper on the floor,
Will this be for evermore?

How I search to find the answer like an innocent romancer,
Or an aging belly-dancer, full of longing and liqueur.
Am I just an ignoramus, will I one day become famous,
Should I quit and quietly sit upon my sad posterior?
Cry a bit and then admit that all my efforts are a bore,
And be mute for evermore?

Am I foolish, am I raving, am I merely misbehaving?
Is my folly melancholy, do I need a counsellor?
Won’t you tell me if you know it, is it madness drives a poet?
Can you see it, do I show it, tell me is there any cure?
Please be gritty do not pity, tell me is there any cure?
A fine cure for evermore.

Though my body’s weak and weary and my eyes are blurred and bleary,
And I see my valiant efforts lying crumpled on the floor.
I will make a bold confession, I am driven by obsession,
To excite with words that freshen all that you have heard before.
How I wish I could inspire you like an ancient troubadour,
Just for now and evermore.

There is nothing I find sweeter than the sound of rhyme and meter,
So I’m calling on St. Peter for the courage to endure.
Though sweet rhyming’s my vocation, it’s perhaps an aberration,
And it might mean abdication if I lose this tug-of-war.
Oh, St. Peter this entreater longs to win this tug-of-war,
Grant me this for evermore.



Norma Pain was born in Liverpool, England and now lives in Parksville, British Columbia, Canada. Thirty of Norma’s poems were published by Dana Literary Society, between 2004 and 2007 and she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize by that same on-line poetry site. She self-published a book of rhyme in 2000 called Bulging Assets.

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22 Responses

  1. Michael Pietrack

    I enjoyed “the rhyme” and the tip of the cap to Poe

  2. Tonia Kalouria

    Dear Norma,
    This fellow rhyme-enthusiast/Poe admirer absolutely
    LOVED both works! I can’t even pick my favorite line,
    because there are so many fun and clever ones.
    (And though it may be an obsession, and perhaps an aberration, yet it helps maintain elusive sanity:-)

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Tonia. I am so pleased that you enjoyed my efforts to mimic Poe’s style of writing.

  3. Russel Winick


    Both of these are wonderful! The viaducts in my city hide the pooping pigeons, so that’s sadly relatable. And “The Rhyme” squarely captures how I, and likely many of us, feel pretty regularly, insecurities and all. Both are great reads, and they comprise a fine mixture of humor and seriousness. Much thanks!

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your lovely comments Russel. I am amazed that pigeons always seem to know when we have just washed our vehicles. It must be something about the shine that gets their attention and excites their innards!!

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    I love trochaics. Why are they so neglected these days?

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for commenting Joseph. I confess that I will have to study up on trochaics but it sounds as if they are a good thing to have in these two poems.

  5. Paul Freeman

    ‘…the sticky slime was oozing over every facial pore…’ ‘Pigeon’ contains possibly the most disgusting imagery I’ve ever come across – well done, Norma! Love it!

    I enjoyed your epic poem, ‘Rhyme’, too. A lot of amazingly humorous imagery such as ‘How I search to find the answer, like an innocent romancer, Or an aging belly-dancer…’

    Thanks for the reads.

    • Norma Pain

      “Disgusting imagery” was what I was going for! Thank you Paul and I hope you never experience the real thing.

  6. Anna J. Arredondo

    Thanks for producing not just one, but two poems in the telltale meter and rhyme scheme of Poe’s The Raven for our perusal. I enjoyed many of the clever rhymes, among them “stupor/pooper/trooper” and “religion/pigeon/widgeon”.

  7. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Norma, what breathtaking, fast-paced, humorous, magnificently crafted, Poesque wonders you’ve created here! I’m sure the late, great Edgar Allan is tipping his hat to you. You have managed to romp along with remarkable ravenesque rapture while producing images that have my toes tapping, my skin crawling, my head nodding (I’ve spent many an afternoon in the pigeon-infested Trafalgar Square), and my hands applauding at your comedic and linguistic skills. Norma, you rock!! Your poetry is an absolute delight. Thank you!

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you so very much Susan. Your compliments on my poetry mean a great deal to me. I am grinning ear to ear.

  8. fred schueler

    another take on Columba livia:

    The common sooty pigeon of the streets
    Spells all the grunge ground out by urbane life –
    The thick air dulls his blotchéd wing, he eats
    The gutter-slime, and courts his would-be wife
    with gross inflations, sings with horrid calls,
    Grim coos and gurglings, clatters when he flies
    Streaks white-wash droppings on the city’s walls,
    and mummifies in attics when he dies.

    But if transpose this self-same bird from these
    Dull streets to water-running gorge-cut shale
    He sets his wings into the rushing breeze
    (Dihedral now explained) upwards he sails
    And fills the broken niche. No less himself,
    He fits, his forebears fit him for, that rocky shelf.

    Cornell University, 1967-1968

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Fred, for this interesting poem on the lowly pigeon. I read that some people eat them!! Never on my plate thank you.

  9. Jeff Eardley

    Norma, the English poetess Pam Ayres has enjoyed a long, and very prosperous career with material that is nowhere near as good, or as side-splittingly readable as “The Pigeon” I will be saving your epic, “The Rhyme” for later, for a time when the laughter dies down over here due to the demise of PM Boris Johnson. Thank you so much for a great read. You are a star.

  10. Norma Pain

    I agree that the demise of Boris Johnson definitely takes center stage over my rhyming ‘epic’. Hopefully you end up with an improvement on the previous model.
    Thank you Jeff. Pam Ayres is not just an amazingly funny poet but she is able to vocalize her poems to great effect. I appreciate the compliment very much.

  11. Julian D. Woodruff

    As I said elsewhere, Norma, these are both just splendid. My favorite:
    How I search to find the answer like an innocent romancer,
    Or an aging belly-dancer, full of longing and liqueur.
    This is unbeatable. Not only would Poe approve–he’d actually be smiling!
    (If you haven’t seen it, take a look at Anna J. Arredondo’s turkey vulture poem, published here ~two years ago.)

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Julian for your wonderful comments. I agree, Anna Arredondo’s Turkey Vulture poem is absolutely hilarious and creates great visuals of over-stuffed humans sleeping everywhere and a demanding turkey vulture upsetting a previously peaceful scene.


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