Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Nightingale

One from my "back catalogue", this was written on the 15th June 2005.

The Nightingale
(based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen)

Sweet was the song, in the dawn
The Emperor strolling on his lawn
Heard the nightingale, wished then
That the singing would go on again
Never ending, and so he was sent
An artificial bird, marvel of orient
Springs and cogs and sapphire eyes
Fashioned by men of cunning, wise
And the nightingale, she went away
In sorrow, not heard by night or day
While the other lay on a silk cushion
The real bird was exiled to far horizon
Banished from all the realm and land
To the farthest shores of distant sand
But then the mechanism broke one day
Cogs worn out, it could no more play
And now there was no bird to sing
No more the living, vibrant, wing. 

For five long years, there was no song
Deepest sorrow on land for great wrong
The Emperor fell ill, so cold and pale
Death came to him who had been hale
Standing before, wearing a gold crown
Holding sword, arrayed in purple gown
Strange faces came in sight, some kind
But some grim, hideous, faces maligned
The Emperors’ good and evil deeds in part
Come now that Death sitting on his heart
But at the height of distress, a song came
Beautiful singing, hope and joy proclaim
The strange shapes grew faint, faded now
Still the nightingale sang, to life endow
Death floated like a cold mist, gone away
The Emperor weeping tears, began to pray
Gave thanks for nightingale, a bird in sight
And its melody of life, of breath, of light.

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