Lament Of The Ninety Nine Percent


In honor of singer songwriter Joni Mitchell whose song, Big Yellow Taxi, inspired this write.





Shortly after returning from a UK trip home I pulled into my rural bank’s parking lot to find it crammed, wing to wing, with black birds. They’d apparently ‘touched down’ to rest during their late winter/early spring migration back to their nesting grounds. In my wildly imaginative head with its ever oddly firing neurons I saw their occupation of the bank grounds as a parallel to the Occupy Wall Street movement! And since I’d recently visited an old centrally situated cemetery in my home village  – also occupied by thousands and thousands of black birds – and have this thing for trees and concerns about what we are doing to the environment … well the following botched haibun is a result..

(Haibun (俳文? , literally, haikai writings) is a prosimetric literary form originating in Japan, combining prose and haiku).

dawn barely breaks
cemetery gate creaks
startled, rooks burst skyward

The young parish gardener lifts, bends, strides enthusiasm, remarking on the church itself, now torn down. We look up. In this southeast corner, enormous oaks. Been here for centuries, he says.

heads cocked, cutting
beaded-eye looks
rooks assess our intent

Bundled against the early morning cold, a schoolboy is passing by. Ears plugged, iPhone in hand, he is texting a friend: got dek cu@ nu scate bord park do in wuds 2nite?

cawing, cawing
rooks a fury overhead
his schoolyard is occupied, in protest

*best read while listening to/watching the video of: Big Yellow Taxi sung by the Counting Crows….


© belcanto 2017
critique and comments welcome.

Leave a Comment

7 Comments on "Lament Of The Ninety Nine Percent"

Notify of

Loved it! I have a very special attachment to crows. I have written about them and recognise their inherent wisdom.
You have contrasted the timeless wisdom of the shamanic world against the surrendering of the modern to empty technology, which blinds us to so much.
A very clever and deepy insightful poem
Storm x


The song that inspired your lovely piece here always reminds me of the Alan partridge quote: “Big Yellow Taxi there by Joni Mitchell, a song in which she complains that they ‘paved paradise to put up a parking lot’ – a measure which actually would have alleviated traffic congestion on the outskirts of paradise. Something which Joni singularly fails to point out, perhaps because it doesn’t quite fit in with her blinkered view of the world.” – A nice read, and thanks for making me smile because this quote by Partridge always does.

Flag Content