Boy, Cat, Canary

Our whistling son called his canary Hector.
'Why?' I asked.  'Because I had always about me
More of Hector with his glittering helmet than
Achilles with his triple-thewed shield.'  He let Hector
Out of his cage, fly up to the ceiling, perch on his chair, hop
While he sat in yellow jersey, doing his homework.
Once, hearing a shout, I entered his room, saw what carnage:
The Siamese cat had worked his tigerish scene;
Hector lay on the floor of his door-open cage
Wings still fluttering, flattened against the sand.
Parallel, horizontal, on the rug, the boy lay
Mouth biting against it, fists hammering boards.
'Tomorrow let him forget.' I prayed, 'Let him not see
What I see in this room of miniature Iliad -
The golden whistling howled down by the dark.'

Stephen Spender