Song that Came to Creeping in His Dream

Dragonfly - British libellulinae, or, Dragon flies (detail).JPG

Dragonfly, dragonfly,
Dragonfly, dragonfly,
Unstitch his eyes, unstitch his eyes.
The snow flies, the river is frozen,
Unstitch his eyes.

From tent to tent I go,
I go where I am wanted,
I go wherever they can pay my fee,
I go with the dragonfly,
Together we unstitch his eyes, we unstitch them.

This song is my breath,
Dragonfly, dragonfly,
This song is my breath.
Dragonfly, dragonfly,
My breath is this song.

They come by their twos and threes,
But we will come by our fours.
Stitch up their eyes,
Dragonfly, dragonfly,
Stitch up their eyes, stitch up their eyes.

 

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A Song for Music, with Music, and Ham Kicker

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“A Following Song” is a songAlex Floor wrote the music and recorded it. As songs sometimes do, this one has changed its monicker: you may call it “They Went Their Ways.” It joins Stone’s Throw, which the redoubtable Godescalc (more mundanely, James) brilliantly set to music some time ago…

The thing came about this time because I once happened across the oddly-named Ham Kicker website, “an exhibition of collaborative musical work”:

Poets are encouraged to submit poetry. Songwriters are encouraged to work with poets and their poems to develop songs. Performers are encouraged to interpret or reinterpret songs.

So I sent Ham Kicker’s proprietor (turns out his name is Joe) a poem to put up on the site, and forgot about it for more than a year. And then, a while ago, Joe let me know that Alex had written and recorded music for what is now indisputably a Song. Which made me happy, as you might guess, for it’s a lovely song.

Here is the Hamkicker post introducing the thing; here (again) is the song in all its mp3-compressed glory; there’s sheet music! (I love sheet music!) Here, for some reason, is an undated interview with Joe.

And why not, here’s the poem again, with its new title:

They Went Their Ways

Down by the hill, or lower down,
The larks and lizards built a town.
They sang for fun and lay in the sun
And life was easy.

Seasons came, and came, and came,
And some were different, some the same;
The flowers grew, and blossomed, and blew,
And life was easy.

But a lark grows bold to stretch its wing
While a lizard sleeps and dreams of spring.
So the larks forgot – what the lizards did not –
That life is easy.

Then they went their ways, no one knew why,
Some to the desert and some to the sky,
With the turning spheres and the passing years,
Like life, so easy.

 

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Would we had

Waiting_Master Bi EDIT

Un—, un—, un—,
Nay, nay, nay,
Fie, fie, fie,
Stay, stay, stay!

Such were the songs we said and sung
When the world was full and we were young.
Would we had dug in our heels and heeded
The silent center we craved and needed!

But came the sibilant prophets of Yes
And Aye, and Too, and Sure, I guess
And Oh, why not, and What the heck
And never a thought of rue or feck.

Would we had gone to the end of the track
And not beyond, and then turned back!
So much to learn, but we were clever
Why shouldn’t we want to go on forever?

Would we had died when Death called Time
Not borrowed breath for one more rhyme.

 

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All Quiet for the Queen (a prequel)

(Being an account of the Peculiar Events leading up to the Monstrous and Notorious Tragedy of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds who were martyred by being baked into a pie; and of the Warning previously issued to all Fowl within the Royal Earshot, which these aforementioned Blackbirds roundly ignored, to their own Detriment and Ultimate Demise; written by one, Witness to the Aforesaid Events.)

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Go quietly, quietly! Quell every sound,
You geese in the air and you quails on the ground!

You ducks with your querulous ducklings in tow,
You may go as you like; only quietly go.

No quacking; no quarreling; quash every cry;
Not a chirp from you blackbirds who quarter the sky!
The queen is asleep:
If you cease not to peep
She’ll awake and demand you be baked in a pie!

 

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The birds gave autumn up

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The birds gave autumn up for dead
But made a song before they fled
Here are the words they sang and said:

Oh, no, it’s the end of the world!
Oh, no, it’s the end of the world!
Oh, no, it’s the end of the world!
Let’s scatter the nests and fly away!

The frogs have sunk and turned to stone
The seeds are sleeping, each alone,
The rest of the world may do as it pleases
When we are gone, gone, gone, gone.

But Spring hatched from December’s nut;
The grass turned green and the ram sprang up;
The birds returned from where they’d flown
Acting as if they’d always known;
The seeds from their stony sleep uncurled
And the birds made song for the beginning of the world.

 

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I Won’t Get Up Today

(a song for music)

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I won’t be getting up at seven
I won’t be on the bus at eight
I may not get up till the weekend
Everybody’s gonna have to to wait

I don’t care if the coffee’s brewing
I don’t care that eggs are in the pan
I’m snug and warm and I ain’t moving
Is that so hard to understand?

I won’t get up today
That’s all I’ve got to say
It’s just gonna be that way.

Last night I dreamed myself a city
Where everybody spoke in rhyme
Smelled nice, and everyone was pretty
That’s where I want to spend my time

That’s why I won’t get up today
That’s all I’ve got to say
It’s just gonna be that way

 

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The Promised Hand

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(with apologies to Bruce Springsteen)

Well, I had a little accident when I was just a lad
I burned my hand, and listen, man, it hurt real bad
A couple years later, I met Doctor McGee
He saw my thumb and he said son, I guarantee
If you just give me a chance, I’ll make it good as new
I’ll make your hand perfect, yes I swear it’s true
I’ve done it many times before, I know just what to do –

McGee, he’s gonna howl
He don’t understand
But the judge found it simple, so he put it on remand
He said, “Son, you’ll get the damages that you demand
’cause you believed in the promised hand.”

He told me that my hand would be one hundred percent
I thought because he said it, that was just what he meant
Now I will never recover, my whole life is a wreck
When I think of that day it makes me mad as heck
He said your hand’s okay, but you deserve the best
He took a knife and then he cut this skin from my chest
Now my fingers are itching and I can’t get no rest…

McGee, he’s gonna howl
He don’t understand
But the judge found it simple, so he put it on remand
He said, “Son, you’ll get the damages that you demand
’cause you believed in the promised hand.”

The jury monetized the difference, it was quite a lot
Between the hand that I expected and the one I got;
And I’ve come to find out that I’m a famous case
Prominently featured in The Paper Chase
But what is all of it worth, when I can’t sleep at night?
My hand is matted and unsightly and it looks a fright
If I could take it all back, I really think that I might…

But every graduate of law school
All across this land
They may forget my name but they recall my hand
I’m more famous than that guy who killed the fox and ran…

’cause I believed in the promised hand
’cause I believed in the promised hand
Yeah I believed in the promised hand.

 

 

This may require some explanation… Internet, take it away:

 

Also, the guy who killed the fox was Jesse Pierson (in case you’ve forgotten). The image illustrating this little fiasco is “The Beast with Five Fingers” by Dave Wild, published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license. Finally, a big if belated Thank you! to MAD Magazine for establishing legal precedent, in addition to generally sticking it to the man.

The Prince Who Succeeded in Slaying the Giant (A Cautionary Tale)

Danger - Falling Giants
The Prince was bold, the Prince was brave,
The Prince was young and strong,
All of these things he was, and yet
He did not live so long.

The Prince sought the Princess’s hand;
The King, to try his skill,
Commanded, “Slay the giant!”
And the Prince, he said, “I will!”

The giant’s name was Fumblegrunt
The largest of that race –
Full thirty yards he measured,
From his feet up to his face!

All night they fought, and then all day;
All afternoon as well;
Until at last the brute was slain
– And then, of course, he fell.

For Fumblegrunt was huge and strong,
And ugly and appalling;
And heavy, too, as the Prince found, who
Reckoned without his falling.

So once you’ve slain the giant –
Though your heart be filled with pride –
O once you’ve slain the giant,
Don’t forget to step aside.

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And Winter Yet to Come

Leaden by Andre Goble
I prayed for sign of spring
A leaden sky was all
And my desire was cold

I saw him yesterday
He stood as close to me
As if I were his soul

When yesterday was chill
Tomorrow has no sting
A leaden sky was all
I prayed for sign of spring

 

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