The Ballad Of Owl Man Danny

Danny didn't have a home,
but had two dear companions;
a mutt called Charlie, and an owl
that perched upon his raglan.

Nice families that normally
would shy from folk like Danny
took children out to touch its wings
and give him pounds and pennies.

It didn't pay his rent, of course,
it didn't keep him warm:
it simply made him want to live,
protecting them from harm.

St.Albans is an open place.
It feels for people's pain,
and sees in '-less', or 'handicaps',
a corresponding gain.

It welcomes misfits, odd ones out,
eccentrics, characters,
but sometimes takes, unknowingly,
less pleasant visitors.

St.Albans has more pubs per head
than even sites of worship.
The psychopath was rolling home
when suddenly he - tripped,

colliding with the greyhound. 'Oi! '
He landed kicks on Charlie,
who howled. One more could break his leg.
Danny had to hurry.

He grabbed the fiend: they grapple-fought,
and in the all-in wrestling
Danny dislocated the man's
shoulder. Homeless. Sling.

Danny knew enough about
legal preconceptions
to think that HE'd be punished. And:
he might lose his companions.

Danny drank to ease the pain,
and one day turned to meths.
That midnight, in a dream of rucks,
he drew his final breath.

Obituaries on lamp-posts mourned
'The much-loved Owl Man Danny'
from good people who'd taken on
one oddball too many.

by Richard George

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