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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Poetry Friday--John Lennon's Birthday

Today, if he had lived, John Lennon would have turned 75! I can't even imagine what his face would have looked like, since in 1980, when he was slain, he was only 40 years old and hadn't started to show signs of aging. To me he will be forever young.

As you can imagine, we have lots of biographies of Lennon [B LEN], as well as CDs, and DVDs that show his work. I could get all maudlin and share the lyrics to "Imagine," but I won't give way! Here's a poem by Lennon that I don't believe was written to be a song, although it has been recorded as such by someone not Lennon or a Beatle:
The Fat Budgie

I have a little budgie
He is my very pal
I take him walks in Britain
I hope I always shall.

I call my budgie Jeffrey
My grandads name's the same
I call him after grandad
Who had a feathered brain.

Some people don't like budgies
The little yellow brats
They eat them up for breakfast
Or give them to their cats.

My uncle ate a budgie
It was so fat and fair.
I cried and called him Ronnie
He didn't seem to care

Although his name was Arthur
It didn't mean a thing.
He went into a petshop
And ate up everything.

The doctors looked inside him,
To see what they could do,
But he had been too greedy
And died just like a zoo.

My Jeffrey chirps and twitters
When I walk into the room,
I make him scrambled egg on toast
And feed him with a spoon.

He sings like other budgies
But only when in trim
But most of all on Sunday
Thats when I plug him in.

He flies about the room sometimes
And sits upon my bed
And if he's really happy
He does it on my head.

He's on a diet now you know
From eating far too much
They say if he gets fatter
He'll have to wear a crutch.

It would be funny wouldn't it
A budgie on a stick
Imagine all the people
Laughing til they're sick.

So that's my budgie Jeffrey
Fat and yellow too
I love him more than daddie
And I'm only thirty-two.

Click here to see the poem in manuscript form.

Visit Laura at Writing the World for Kids for this week's Round-Up.


  1. I was in 8th grade when John Lennon was killed--a day very clear in my memory! I don't hugely love this poem, but "I call him after grandad / Who had a feathered brain." BRILLIANT!

    1. The poem is far from memorable in my book.

  2. It's rather silly, but has a making-fun-of-people tone that feels typical Lennon. We were heartbroken over his loss, weren't we?

    1. Yes, it's actually one of those "where were you when you heard the news" events for me. I remember exactly where I was and who broke the news.

  3. Diane, I remember when the Beatles landed in the US and everyone was so in love with them. John Lennon had such a great voice and it was such a sad moment when he was struck down. Thanks for providing a glimpse into one of his unpublished works. When sung it has a fun beat for little children. I think they would gravitate toward it.

    1. It's just silly enough for kids to enjoy.

  4. A budgie on a stick - oh no! :) Thank you for sharing this -- it's light and fun, isn't it?

    1. "I make him scrambled egg on toast
      And feed him with a spoon."
      Puts me in mind of Edward Lear!

  5. The link to the verses in John Lennon's script is precious - appreciations!
    And yes, Lear comes to mind & a few others in that entire nonsense realm that the poets of the UK
    seem to nail. Possibly a 1st draft. Actually gives me shivers. Brilliant person, we lost.

    Slitely off topic, Some license tags in FL carry his artwork from the cover of the IMAGINE album (& the book about him of same name) which was generously authorized by Yoko Ono to benefit food banks. It's the one I buy every renewal time so when those of us who have it, when we don't walk but motor around, we show his visual art on everyday streets & parking lots.

  6. I love budgies. We used to have one named Poppy– a one-winged wonder budgie. (He had one wing amputated due to a tumor.) But when it comes to lyrics, The Clash's "The Magnificent Seven" is what comes to mind: "News Flash: Vacuum Cleaner Sucks Up Budgie/Oooohh...bub-bye."