Have you ever danced with the willow?
Or sang in the bright frigid morn
With the nightingale fresh from her pillow
Of tragedies, deep and forlorn?
Well I have, you see, I’ve sung every tune
And they’re all stuck up in my head!
But there’s one I must tell, one nightingale’s croon,
Before I find all of you dead.
Far, far away in a land green and gold
Lived a boy with a wandering spirit.
His mother would say, “You’re getting too old
To run off!” But he just wouldn’t hear it.
He ran through the woods, he ran through the river
Until one day he was stopped
By a sight so bold yet so soft – a quiver,
A spark! He stopped and he gawped!
A tree – a tree like he’d ne’er seen before
Clothed in the silk of a princess.
Amethyst, lavender, a priceless ore!
Beauty no man has seen since.
He returned to that tree every day for a week,
Two weeks, a month, a year,
Whispering his ardor to her leaves
Questioning not if she could hear.
And she could, of course! Trees always listen
To our mozies and our musings.
They see in certain clarity
The thoughts we find confusing.
The young man’s tree was listening – yes!
But absolutely silent
Until day three hundred sixty five
When she opened a single violet
And said, “My dear young lover
In all my tender years
I’ve never seen another man
With passion drenched in tears!
Be still, my sweet, and listen close
To these whispers which surround you
This whole wide world I’ve searched to find
True love – and sweet – I’ve found you.”
The young lover gasped in darling surprise
For of course he was delighted
To find his deepest most passionate words
One hundred percent requited!
Through the following year, their young love grew strong
But another force was expanding.
Deep in the land to which the lovers belonged
Grew a deadly misunderstanding.
Mankind grew bitter towards the Earth
Who defied all their commands.
The sky was too hot, the soil too dry
Hatred was brewed in the lands.
War on the trees! War on the Sun!
War on the grass in the fields!
By the time these fires are over and done
Sole power we shall yield!
With Nature herself, a small tongue of fire,
They laughed and lit her ablaze.
The trees tried to fight, the clouds tried to strike
But the noble, brave fighters were razed.
As forests were turned to wastelands,
The young man turned to his tree,
“My darling Wisteria, what shall we do?”
She shivered and sighed, “Let things be.”
“I can’t, my love, I never will!
I’ll fight until I’m dead!
In your shadow I’ve found my place,
This love, it can’t – it won’t end!”
He toiled for hours to dig her up
And plant her in a cave.
“These tall rock walls will save you.
My darling, please! Be brave!”
His tree was weeping, tenderly,
For she’d never seen a day
Without sweet Sun to comfort her
Or rain to soothe the pain.
Each day her love would visit her
With water from the river.
The coolness revived her spirits
Oh water! The sweet life giver.
The days grew dark, the nights grew long,
The war raged on and on.
The lovers knew the end was nigh,
Soon the river would be gone.
They spoke of love eternal
But fear prepared them to grieve.
Each night he whispered to his tree,
“I promise, I’ll never leave.”
The day, it came, when each of them knew
One breath would be her last.
They clung to each other in silence
Listening to each gunshot and blast.
He wrapped her branches tightly round
His arms, his legs, his face
And let his tears intertwine
With her amaranthine embrace.
My nightingale was close that night
And watched them as they died.
Victims of fear and folly and farce,
Of vanity and pride.
Before mankind killed all the Earth
My nightingale took to the skies.
She flew as far as she could to the East
Preserving the lovers last cries.
Someday too, she will die,
And I suppose I will as well.
True love’s a tale we all have heard
As trite as Heaven and Hell.