Dannie Abse was a poet, author, doctor and playwright. He died on September 28th 2014, aged 91.
This reminded me of Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel García Márquez where aging and death are prominent concepts which first emerge upon the death of Jeremiah Saint-Amour and are expanded throughout the novel.
The single most important bird in the novel is the cunning parrot which is responsible for Dr. Urbino’s death:
The love-sick Florentina Ariza is described in Love in the time of cholera “as sensitive to the faltering steps of ageing”. Edwin Morgan, Scotland’s Machar, in his poem “In the snack-bar” also talks about steps. The steps Morgan describes are both faltering and unfaltering, and he mentions that “slowly we go up” and “slowly we go down”. As an artist I made the “faltering-unfaltering” steps in my garden.
There is another famous parrot in the literary world: Flaubert’s parrot, Loulou. The search for this parrot by Julian Barnes is a most wonderful read:
Dannie Abse who died recently aged 91 and his last work: Speak, old parrot.