Poetry-12.The Frog and the Nightingale

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Poetry-12.The Frog and the Nightingale

Part -2

12.The Frog and the Nightingale

                                                                          –  Vikram Seth

Poetry  : – Part-1

Once upon a time a frog

Croaked away in Bingle Bog.

Every night from dusk to dawn

He croaked awn and awn and awn.

Other creatures loathed his voice,

But, alas, they had no choice,

And the crass cacophony

Blared out from the sumac tree

At whose foot the frog each night

Minstrelled on till morning light.

Neither stones nor prayers nor sticks,

Insults or complaints or bricks

Stilled the frog’s determination

To display his heart’s elation.

But one night a nightingale

In the moonlight cold and pale

Perched upon the sumac tree

Casting forth her melody.

Dumbstruck sat the gaping frog.

And the whole admiring bog

Stared towards the sumac, rapt,

And, when she had ended, clapped.

Ducks had swum and herons waded

To her as she serenaded,

And a solitary loon 

Wept beneath the summer moon.

Toads and teals and tiddlers, captured

By her voice, cheered on, enraptured;

‘Bravo’ ‘Too divine!’  Encore,

So the nightingale once more,

Quite unused to such applause,

Sang till dawn without a pause.

Next night when the nightingale

Shook her head and twitched her tail,

Closed an eye and fluffed a wing

And had cleared her throat to sing 

She was startled by a croak.

‘Sorry was that you who spoke?’

She enquired when the frog

Hopped towards her from the bog.

‘Yes,’ the frog replied. ‘You see

I’m the frog who owns this tree.

In this bog I’ve long been known

For my splendid baritone,

And, of course, I wield my pen

For Bog Trumpet now and then.’

‘Did you ….did you like my song?’

 ‘Not too bad – but far too long.

The technique was fine, of course,

But it lacked a certain force.’

Oh! ‘the nightingale confessed ,

Greatly flattered and impressed

That a critic of such note

Had discussed her art and throat;

‘I don’t think the song’s divine.

But -oh, well-at least it’s mine.’


‘That’s not much to boast about,

Said the heartless frog. ‘Without

Proper training such as I

And few others- can supply,

You’ll remain a mere beginner.

But with me you’ll be a winner,

‘Dearest frog,’ the nightingale

Breathed: This is a fairy tale

And you’re Mozart in disguise

Come to earth before my eyes,

‘Well, I charge a modest fee.’

‘Oh! “But it won’t hurt, you’ll see,

Poetry-12.The Frog and the Nightingale

The Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth