The Frog and the Nightingale part-2 - ENGLISH BY RAGHVENDRA SIR
The Frog & The Nightingale (2)

The Frog and the Nightingale part-2

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Part- 3

12.The Frog and the Nightingale

                                                                                                                                   –  Vikram Seth

Part-2   –  Poetry

Now the nightingale, inspired,

Flushed with confidence, and fired

With both art and adoration,

Sang –and was a huge sensation.

Animals for miles around

Flocked towards the magic sound,

And the frog with great precision

Counted heads and charged admission.

 

Though next morning it was raining,

He began her vocal training.

‘But I can’t sing in this weather.’

‘Come, my dear –we‘ll sing together.

Just put on your scarf and sash.

Koo –oh –ah! Ko-ash! ko-ash!’

So the frog and nightingale

Journeyed up and down the scale

For six hours, till she was shivering

 And her voice was hoarse and quivering.

Though subdued and sleep-deprived,

In the night her throat revived.

And the sumac tree was bowed

 With a breathless, titled crowd:

Owl of Sandwich, duck of kent,

Mallard and Milady Trent,

Martin Cardinal Mephisto,

And the Coot of Monte Cristo.

Ladies with tiaras glittering

In the interval sat twittering

-And the frog observed them glitter

With a joy both sweet and bitter.

 

Every day the frog who’d sold her

Songs for silver tried to scold her

‘You must practice even longer

Till your voice, like mine, grows stronger.

In the second song last night

You got nervous in mid-flight.

And, my dear, lay on-more trills;

Audiences enjoy such frills.

You must make your public happier.

Give them something sharper, snappier.

We must aim for better billings.

You still owe me sixty shilling,

 

Day by day the nightingale

Grew more sorrowful and pale.

Night on night her tired song

Zipped and trilled and bounced along,

Till the birds and beasts grew tired

At a voice so uninspired

And the ticket office gross

Crashed, and she grew more morose

For her ears were now addicted

To applause quite unrestricted,

And to sing into the night

All alone gave no delight.

 

Now the frog puffed up with rang

Brainless bird –you’re on the stage

Use your wits, and follow fashion.

Puff your lungs out with your passion.

Trembling, terrified to fail.

Blind with tears, the nightingale

Heard him out in silence, tried,

Puffed up, burst a vein, and died.

 

Said the frog; ‘I tried’ to teach her,

But she was a stupid creature –

Far too nervous, far too tense,

Far too prone to influence.

Well, poor bird-she should have known

That your song must be your own.

That’s why I sing with panache:

‘Koo-oh-ah! Ko-ash! Ko-as

And the foghorn of the frog

Blared unrivalled through the bog.

The Frog and the Nightingale

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The Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth