Mister Stork

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In the lounge room of my childhood
there’s this small box made of wood.
And when I open it’s varnished lid
up pops a finely painted stork.
A cigarette wedged in his beak,
with the promise of something good …

“Care to try a Peter Stuyvesant?
Tailor made for the Jet-Set!
You’ve been on a plane.
And you’re a big boy now, all of nine.
You’ll find the taste most pleasant, 

and you’ll soon be feeling fine.”

Curious that neither
of my parents smoked.
A dad mostly absent,
who then absconded.
Two much older brothers
with things far more important
than a cold war nuclear crisis.
With idle hands,
and given no grand plans,
I was left to my own devices.
Deep in the groove with a move
known as Duck and Cover
from a world torn asunder
before there was ever a chance
of getting it all together.

Is there nothing left
but to become
a living protest?
A performance piece
of self immolation?
Mister Stork, I need a snort
of your sweetest,
yet bitter, inspiration.

The proprietor
of the nearby convenience store
would sell me a pack of ten
for the handful of coins
that I had begged,
borrowed, and stolen.
He had a beautiful daughter,
I remember. A friend of my sister.
Years later, he was found
driving aimlessly around town
with the lifeless body of his wife
in the back seat of his car.
No need for fiction
when life is much stranger.

In a neighbourhood
where children could disappear
without a trace . . .
to that whispered realm of overdose.
“Be careful. Be good.
And don’t go too far.”
With spriteful exuberance
and youthful stealth
I would break into vacant houses.
Searching for just a taste
of that ever elusive good life.
And then, there was Mister Stork,
with a hit of loving comfort.
A constant companion
who always made me happy,
if even for just a moment.
Till the day he came up short,
and a beak sadly empty.
With hand painted eyes
he just stared at me blankly …

“You’ve been chasing thrills, 
and I can see you’ve got the chills. 
You’re becoming quite a scoundrel.
Why don’t you get some
of mum’s favourite pills 
and go swallow a handful!” 

All done and said,
there is something
strangely liberating
in being numbered
amongst the dead
by friends and family alike
whilst still alive & kicking.

All said and done,
It’s been one hell of a fight.
With Mister Stork,
lurking somewhere in his box.
Always there, but out of sight.
Brooding over schemes yet to hatch,
beyond any doubt.
Beware ever you open that latch.
But he was never a match
for my Father in Heaven.
As I now live
in the ever loving light
of the risen Son . . . Forever and Amen.

~ By David B. Redpath    ©   2019

43 thoughts on “Mister Stork”

  1. Most beautiful. Mr.Stork is inspiration
    of your imagination. “In a neighbourhood …
    … he just stared at me blankly … “.
    How much sad things for children and youth.
    Inspirational and thought provoking.
    We should take some steps against Mr.Stork.
    Well done, dear!!
    Oh, most heart touching, all lines.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. A game of shadows
        in the shallows of life.
        As the stork flies high
        we are but running from self.
        Best to close his little wooden box
        and put it back on the shelf.
        He sucks you in,
        only to spit you out again,
        after being well and truly chewed
        With him, your spirit
        is never renewed.

        Thanks for the “Shadow Game”
        inspiration, Rachel ✌️😎

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A profound autobiographical poem, David.

    Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

    The mysterious Stork in the box of your mind getting you to try cigarettes and then pills.

    This was no stork who delivered babies down the chimneys of rooftops but a stork who ascended up from the furnaces of Hell and delivered lies.

    A compelling testimony to the power of Christ who overcomes demons in all forms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Chris, I suspect that Mister Stork
      was an emissary for that Prince of the
      air, despite having his wings clipped,
      and being confined to a small box.
      I wrote this story for all those who’ve
      “… walked according to the course of this world, according to the Prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience …”
      ( By coincidence, The Sons of Disobedience
      is also the name of a leading Washington
      far right think tank 😎)

      Liked by 1 person

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