Topped and tailed in the one bed
the other sturdy children clasped their ears
against their mother's labour screams.
No midwife came through the dark night.
no knock at the door, no-one witness bore.
Imago, nymph, changeling child,
red-faced uakari monkey cub,
more incubus than cherub.
With his wizened face and wise eyes
he saw how best to parasitize.
Some say he was a doorstep brat
left by a whore in a launderette
or wrapped in a shawl of Brussels lace.
Some say he was born in a lacy caul
with a shock of white lanugo fur.
He grew a shy, introverted soul,
not like his sturdy, jovial kin.
But they still suckled and sustained him.
loved, fed and clad their cuckoo chick,
the fosterling with ever open beak.
Until he shamed them with things unsaid:
the poverty of their language,
his interest in philosophy,
his musical virtuosity,
their profound inadequacy.
And yet his warbler parents gave no hint
they had raised in vain a findelkind.
He would one day hunch his shoulders
and tip all memory of their love
over the guano gunwale of his nest.
As a teenager he was already convinced,
As he was cauled so was he called
by such an auspicious omen
to some remarkable career,
some life of true significance.
Perhaps he was Goethe personified,
reliving the sorrows of young Werther;
perhaps he was destined to be
a transsexual reincarnation
of a noble German poetess.
As the years progressed, nothing came,
no conflagration from that first bright flame.
The humdrum mundane wore him down
to a shade of grey obscurity.
As candle guttered, at last he uttered:
I have served now my time on earth;
I have deserved; I am truly worth.
I have endured my mortal stint.
Now worn, transparent, frail,
Come and reclaim your findelkind.