While walking home from work one evening, I spotted a pigeon with its head missing, lying at the side of the pavement. It wasn’t doing much, presumably just having a rest, but I know a superstar when I see one. I announced my discovery via poetry, on Twitter:
Oh! Headless Pigeon, on the pavement
Where is your bonce? Is it on a placement?
How do you see things, without a head?
Oh wait: you can’t, because you’re DEAD
Headless Pigeon (note the capitals) had been born.
A few mornings later this popped into my head:
Good morning, Headless Pigeon - I’m happy to say:
That once again, Headless Pigeon, the day is TUESDAY
But if you haven’t got eyes, a neck, or a beak
You probably don’t care about the day of the week
Pigeons are all naked. Unless they've got a ring on their leg. But that's more of an accessory than clothes. So they are all naked.
Oh, darling Headless Pigeon; please don’t be dispirited
That acephaly means your entertainment options are limited
While life without a head I’m sure must be a high pain
The silver lining is: you’ll never get a migraine.
By this time, people on Twitter were starting to notice the Headless Pigeon, and write little ditties of their own. One of them was @stucash. Stu is a vet, so he is probably even more of an expert on headless pigeons than I am. He’s probably sewn a pigeon’s head back on backwards, just for fun. Perhaps he’s done this A LOT. It would explain why pigeons are always flying into windows.
Headless pigeon where is home?
Sadly you can no longer roam.
Your flying tours of our great nation
Hampered by decapitation
Depressing. I tried to get the Headless Pigeon to see the bright side:
My dear Headless Pigeon, try not to be sad.
Life with no head isn’t all bad
Look at it this way: you won’t hear or see
Stuff like The Voice, from the BBC
Once, and only once, the Pigeon responded with this:
Sometimes I feel like throwing my head up in the air - Headless Pigeon
While the headless pigeon was not going to be doing any taking off in real life, it was certainly taking off on Twitter. Other fans started to compose their own poems:
Headless pigeon, life's unkind
Your flying days left far behind
No more soaring, taking wing
Now your rotting body starts to ming.
A delightful haiku appeared:
You don't have a brain
And you don't have any eyes
Poor headless pigeon
He’ll hate me calling him this, but even a proper internet celebrity, Nelson, paid his respects to the Headless Pigeon. His spEak You’re bRanes website ifyoulikeitsomuchwhydontyougolivethere.com
is very thoughtful and funny, and you should have a look at it.
I wished your heart, once more, would beat
Invigorate the pigeonmeat
Alas! How long I waited
Your brain and body, bifurcated
Thanks to the wonderful @nookiedog
as always for his illustrative talent. He drew the Headless Pigeon for us all. He also wrote a poem:
Headless pigeon you lack a cranium
Maybe it is lying somewhere, lost in a geranium
Come now, I'll help you look
Oh, here it's is... *boak*
My dear little pigeon! Your headless condition
Does not seem to mar your boundless ambition
But I’ve got to admit: I’ll be very impressed
If you manage to win this staring contest
Headless Pigeon, it’s Saturday morning
You seem to be having a lie in
Your lack of movement is appalling
You never do any flying
Stu the vet pointed out (and he is better qualified than most of us to know) that perhaps by now the Headless Pigeon would not be in tip-top condition:
Headless pigeon, you can’t move
Sadly you have lost your groove
Robbed of making life’s decision
Heading straight for decomposition
I, in the meantime, chose to dwell on the bird’s stardom:
Dear little Pigeon - will you stay the same
Now decapitation has brought you all this fame?
At least, I feel, it can safely be said
That celebrity status won’t go to your head
Headless Pigeon, now you’re A-list
Why don’t you make us an iTunes playlist?
I know that one of your favourite tracks
Is “Where’s Your Head At?”, by Basement Jaxx
The last word (for now) came from our friend Spock:
Dear little pigeon, you've gone and lost your head
You still live on in poetry even though you're dead
A Headless Pigeon anthology will be hitting the bookshops in time for Christmas. Perfect for reading to your child if you have one. If you don’t have a child, you could either see about having one, or just buy the book for somebody else’s child. I’m not going to tell you what to do.Now also featuring last minute contributions by Fran Crampin, including such ditties as:
Oh Headless Pigeon, what happened to you?
Your head and body, once one, now two
Break-ups are tough, I don't wish to criticise
But you're kind of whiffy and attracting flies
Oh Headless Pigeon, what a palaver
Your body so near, yet your noggin much farther
“Does my neck stretch?” You were tempted to wonder
The answer is “no”, it tears asunder
@nookiedog designed the cover. He does this sort of thing for a living, and will design a book cover for you (or anything else), if you pay him. His website is here.